Crescent Valley Cross Country athlete Emily Wisniewski separates herself from the pack

Emily Wisniewski, a Crescent Valley High School track star, achieved a new state record at the OSAA Cross Country Championships
Emily Wisniewski, a Crescent Valley High School track star, achieved a new state record at the OSAA Cross Country Championships
Maya Zavala

Fresh off a first-place finish at Nike Cross regionals, Emily Wisniewski said she is looking forward to nationals and reflected on her success as a cross country athlete.

Nike Cross nationals will be held on Dec. 2 at the Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon, according to the meet website. Wisniewski will run for Crescent Valley High School, where she’s a junior.

“I was close to the course record (at regionals)”, Wisniewski said. “The race came down to a sprint finish.”

Regionals is not the only time Wisniewski snagged first this season. On Nov. 4 she placed first in the women’s 5,000 meters at the Oregon School Activities Association 5A State Championships, recording a time of 17:05.8, and setting a new state record as reported by the Oregonian. 

On Oct. 13, she recorded a personal best of 16:27.20 at the Third Annual Rose City Championship Invitational, which ranked her third nationally for the high school women’s 5000 meters.

Wisniewski said her introduction to running was through fun-runs with her mom.  She began competing in track and cross country in sixth grade and has continued with the sport, driven by the competition.

“I liked racing and competing and I think that really helps my training and helped motivate me to train,” Wisniewski said. “And there’s no better feeling than accomplishing your goals.”

Wisniewski’s success has not gone unnoticed, and she began receiving calls from recruiters this year. She said she wants to run Division I in college, but is keeping her options open to find the program that works best for her.

Wisniewski said that in addition to the competition, she enjoys both the team environment and the training.

“I (run) 60 miles a week,” She said, adding that she mostly runs after school but sometimes completes a shorter run in the mornings.

Outside of running and school, Wisniewski said she enjoys skiing, hiking, paddleboarding, sculpting and drawing.

Other runners on the Crescent Valley cross country team expressed admiration for her performance.

“It’s wild,” Althea Gdontakis-Pos said.

Gdontakis-Pos is a junior at Crescent Valley who is new to the team this year.

“I think that we’re constantly just in awe of (Wisniewski). She has such an impressive determination to her. She shows up to practice and she’s always just ahead of the game,” Gdontakis-Pos said.

Gdontakis-Pos added that, while she inspires the team with her dedication, Wisniewski also likes to goof around and contributes to a fun team environment.

Sophie Minot, a senior at Crescent Valley who is in her second year on the team said, “It seems very natural (to be her teammate). I guess I never (think) twice about it until we go to races and then she beats all the records and it’s like, wow, what an honor, every selfie we have with her is so precious!”

Cross Country Coach Tyler Bushnell also spoke to Wisniewski’s influence on the team’s performance.

“She really has reset the program in a lot of areas and a lot of expectations,” Bushnell said. “She’s got some successful teammates, running fast and she sets the tone on a daily basis.”

Bushnell said that Wisniewski is uniquely driven and embraces the simplistic nature of cross country as a sport.

“We like the simple, raw element of athleticism that cross country is,” he said. “(Wisniewski) really seems to connect with that and stays hungry for that opportunity to test her limits.”

Wisniewski says that even with all her success, she still feels that her passion for running is internally motivated.

“I’d still be doing it even if there was no one else cheering me on,” Wisniewski said.

For Wisniewski, nationals will provide the next opportunity for her to test her limits, and according to her teammates, there will be plenty of people cheering for her.

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