Not even Wilson too good to learn
BLOOMINGTON — Every athlete, no matter how accomplished, always has room for improvement.
Even ones as historically elite as Greencastle’s Emma Wilson.
The top-seeded Wilson defended her state title in the 3,200-meter run on Friday with an impressive race, while the seeding held pretty true to form in the 1,600. Wilson was seeded third in that event, based upon runners’ best times from the first two levels of the state tourney, and finished fourth in the race.
Top-seeded Phoebe Bates of Carmel won the race, while sixth-seeded Ava Gilliana of Valparaiso sneaked up to take second and second-seeded Sophia Rigg of Zionsville placed third.
“She was boxed in during the 1,600,” GHS coach Craig Jordan noted. “The first 400 was great, but the middle 800 meters was only 2:34, which is basically her 3,200 pace, so the race ended up coming down to a sprint finish.
“The best way for her to win a competitive 1,600 is to keep the pace honest,” Jordan added. “All 1,600-meter runners get into oxygen deficit in the later stages of the race. She ran 4:50 indoors, and we are positive she can run in the mid-4:40s at the moment. Although the outcome in the 1,600 wasn’t ideal, she learned a lot and will be better going forward. ”
Recovering from defeat is something Wilson isn’t used to doing, Jordan did not think she was affected mentally following the 1,600.
Wilson was seen laughing and joking with her competitors in the tent while they were all waiting to take their spots on the medal stand.
Wilson said later she was happy for her friends and competitors who stood alongside her on the medal stand.
“It was exciting,” she said.
Jordan noted that Wilson is a “mentally-tough individual” who knew her night was not yet over.
“Immediately after the 1,600 she began to focus on the 3,200, as she still had more work to do,” he said. “She quickly moved on and took note from her 1,600, and made sure not to run the 3,200 the same way.
“We knew she was in good shape, so we definitely felt she could PR, and if the pace was honest we felt she’d have a great shot to repeat.”
Jordan said that Wilson’s best strength is her endurance, and she’s in her best shape ever.
“She’s got good speed, but it’s her endurance that sets her apart from people,” he said. “Emma’s performance at state was amazing. She singlehandedly got us 12th as a team, which is three places higher than we placed last year.”
While Wilson’s junior year of high school competition has officially ended, she will be working hard this summer as she prepares to defend her cross country state title this fall in her final prep campaign.
Later this month, she plans to do something new at the United States of America Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships at Bloomington, which is a qualifying event for the U20 world championships in Finland.
Wilson will try her hand at the steeplechase, which is a 3,000-meter obstacle race with four barriers (hurdles) and a water pit.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Wilson said after Friday’s 3,200 victory. “I have been doing some little things to get over hurdles. It’s different than anything I’ve done, but I’m really excited to do it.”