For senior trackstar Emma Peterson, track is a lifestyle and something that will stick with her for the rest of her life.
“I started to love [track] because it became like my lifestyle,” Peterson said. “It was a way for me to burn off stress … unwind and put my mind on ease.”
But so will the successes that came from this sport she calls life.
Peterson has been apart of the Cobber track team since her freshman year and has been a huge presence in the program in the last three years. She currently has the eighth longest triple jump and broke the previous high jump record of 5-06.50 this past weekend at the NDSU Bison Open meet with a jump of 5-07. Not only does this newest record put Peterson ranking no. 1 in the MIAC, it puts her tied for #5 in the NCAA.
However, these performances are just for the indoor track season. For outdoor, she has sixth fastest 400 meter hurdles time and holds the record for high jump at 5-7.25.
Last year, her performances led her to an All-Conference title in the indoor triple jump and an All-American title during the outdoor season.
The All-Conference indoor title in triple jump, she just stumbled upon.
“I just picked up triple jump last indoor, one meet before indoor conferences. I was like I’m gonna try and make it into conference,” Peterson said. “I’ve never triple jumped before, so I tried it and I made it into conferences and I was like sweet I qualified … I had two practices that week and then competed that weekend and I ended up being All-Conference in triple jump.”
And to think that she used to run more than anything else during her high school days.
“It’s funny because in high school I was a runner, I mean I was a good jumper as well, but I ran a lot,” Peterson said. “I did the 800 when I was younger and I was really good from a young age . . . I probably could have kept running, but I didn’t want to do it anymore.”
For Peterson, college was a time for change.
“I switched and started running the 300 hurdles and jump was kind of something that I was always kind of good at, just by chance,” Peterson said. “Just kind of came to me.”
According to her jumping coach Martin Peper, it’s a simple combination of things that account for way Peterson excels.
“She’s very competitive and just talent,” Peper said. “You can have one or the other, but you need both to be good.”
Her competitive edge never ceases her. If anything, her competitive nature grows each and every year. Peterson said her spark and improvement in training over the years may in part have come from seeing her mom’s transformation.
“It was really inspiring because my mom lost 50 pounds my freshman to sophomore year and she did it in such a different way,” Peterson said. “She changed her whole entire lifestyle and that was interesting to me.”
Peterson’s interest in her mother’s change caused her to strive for a lifestyle change of her own. She started researching different workouts and dieting techniques to help her find the change she was searching for. Soon her search brought her to the weight room.
“I just didn’t know, so I started doing running stuff and I was like eh, so then I lifted and really liked it, so I started doing that,” Peterson said. “I love that. I love lifting weights.”
When it comes to weight lifting and workouts in general, it’s Peterson herself that she is competing with.
“I love competition, maybe a little too much sometimes, but I hate losing,” Peterson said.
With the competitive nature steaming from her core, she puts her headphones in and goes to work.
“I just like competing so that’s what I feel like I am doing when I work out, when I lift,” Peterson said. “I sprint and I do box jumps and I put another box there and jump higher, put another box, jump higher. Put more weight on, put more weight on. How much can I do? It’s like I am competing to better myself and it’s never ending self improvement.”
According to Peper, the urge Peterson has to be the best she can be is what makes up Concordia athletics. The athletes are here for more than just a scholarship.
“You know conversely if they have a bad day, I tell them I am going to take their athletic scholarship away, which is nonexistent, because an athlete at Concordia division III is doing a sport … because they enjoy it,” Peper said. “They love being a part of it.”
While Peterson warms up around the track with her headphones in, for the bystanders, she’s preparing for a senior season. For her, it’s a strong beginning to a life long journey.
“I changed my lifestyle … I wanted to be better for track but at the same time I wanted it for myself,” Peterson said. “I wanted to find myself . . . It’s starting to work I think.”