Emma Stutzman Is Ready To Step Out Into The Spotlight

August 2019

I couldn't see them at first, but I could hear them. 

The friction from their shoes on the dirt path echoed across the meadow in front of my home, where I sat quietly in my adirondack chair drinking my morning coffee. 

The faint sound of heavy breathing - the hypnotic rhythm of running - grew louder as a quartet ran down the path. They came into vision, and among them were three boys, and one girl. 

The girl had a tight blonde ponytail that dangled from side to side as they cruised at - from my view across the meadow - seemed to be an impressive pace. 

30-plus years of running, I know a Sub-8 mile when I see one...

I had recently moved near Nottingham Park, just over the hill from Pomona High School, and was unaware that they had any girls on the roster that could keep pace with the boys. 

So naturally I pulled up MileSplit, and searched the team page to figure out who this was. 

I scanned across a few names, though I figured it had to be an incoming freshman, or someone who was about to have a massive breakthrough season. 

As history would play out, it would be both.

I went back to sipping my coffee, and enjoyed the calm morning in front of me. I figured like all things about this sport, the truth would reveal itself eventually. 

While I didn't know the identity of the blonde girl with the tight ponytail running with the boys, I did know that the 2019 Colorado cross country season was about to see a new face in front of the pack.

Over the ensuing weeks it became a common sight each morning, as high school cross country practice was underway in August of 2019. 

Three weeks later the blonde with the tight ponytail toed the line in her first high school cross country race - the Vista Nation XC 2-Mile Invitational

"I told her, just run with one of the older kids, don't expend yourself too much," Coach Jack Swartz explained of his instructions. "And she ended up beating the girl, and after the race, she said 'I think I could've gone faster...' and that was the start of Emma Stutzman's career."

She ran 12:49, and finished 16th on that day.

It's like Sheryl Crow said: "There's a new (big) cat in town."

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