Freshman year has brought new opportunities for Emma Hansen


Despite only being a freshman, Emma Hanson is motivated. After quitting gymnastics and leaving that chapter of life, she still wanted to challenge her athletic abilities through extracurriculars. Encouraged to join FHC’s running teams by her friends and coaches, she has since then persevered and worked hard to get where she is on the cross country and track teams, both of which have pushed her to be who she is today.

“I started running this year,” Emma said. “[My freshman friend] Whitney Currie really wanted me to [join cross country] and so did Coach Harner, so that’s what got me started. It’s pretty fun, and I like it a lot.”

Under the influence of her other coaches, like assistant Nils Eastburg, her skills in both running and in life have improved. Thanks to Eastburg especially, she has been able to meet her goals and thrive in her seasons, and with his wisdom, she has gained much more than running advice. 

“[The most influential person for me] is my coach, Nils,” Emma said. “He is really inspirational and really cares about all of his athletes. You can tell he puts in a lot of work to make you better.”

Before graduating to the high school, Emma had little experience with running competitively. Aside from running track in elementary school, she considers herself a beginner in the running world, and she has loved the sport every step of the way. Her favorite part though is the group of girls she spends the better portion of her fall and spring seasons.  

“It’s a really fun [group],” Emma said. “All the girls are really close, and we have a really fun time together. Even if the running part isn’t always the best, you have your friends there to keep you going. Everyone is super nice, and we all really care about each other.”

Considering how much positive energy she brings with her, she does not lack motivation in any way. Her positivity motivates the team, overall bringing them closer. Through all the tough workouts and disappointments, Emma strives to encourage all of her teammates to be the best versions of themselves. While Emma is a big supporter of those around her, her close friend junior Susannah Bennett is her own support system.

“My friends [motivate me],” Emma said. “Really Susannah, she is the best person ever. I love her. She is so inspirational and really keeps me going.”

With the short season of track and the long season of cross country, Emma has made many favorite memories, and for her, all of her teammates hold a special place in her heart. From the small memories of team dinners, eating pasta, and laughing together, to the dreadfully long practices every memory has brought them closer over the course of a few months. 

“One of my favorite memories is the regional cross country meet,” Emma said. “Whitney made it to states; I was so excited for her. I got to the end [of the race], and she was hugging everyone, and

I knew she made it. I also got my personal best time there too. We all were having a good time, and it was a good meet.”

The struggle that inherently comes with not having a winter sport is keeping in shape in the offseason. Without being around her teammates 24/7, it was a struggle for her, but Emma soon found the swing of things and became grounded in her running routine. 

“On the weekends, I would either run at the YMCA or just outside,” Emma said, “but it’s been kind of cold.”

For Emma, her first choice is to run long distance, which is why she enjoys cross country the most. However, during her track season, her events have evolved into more of mid-distance ones. 

“I prefer cross country,” Emma said. “I’m more of a long-distance runner. We don’t sprint that much in track, but we definitely sprint more than we would for cross country.”

The enthusiasm of running is evident for Emma, and she is not afraid to share her love for running and enjoys cross country and track. For her, running is her passion, and her teammates are her motivation.

“I love running,” Emma said. “It makes me feel really happy, and it doesn’t really distress me, because whenever I run, I forget about all the worries in life.”