EMLENTON, Pa. (EYT) – While there are many two-sport athletes in track – as distance runners regularly compete in cross-country – there are few who are doing what Emlenton native and Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School graduate Emma Fox is doing.
(Photos courtesy of Slippery Rock Sports Information office.)
In her days with the Lady Falcons, she participated in basketball, cheerleading, golf, and track and field. Being a multi-sport athlete is something she is familiar with, but dual-sporting in cheerleading and track and field at the collegiate level is an entirely different commitment.
The former KSAC standout chose to attend Slippery Rock University to continue her academic and athletic career. As a college sophomore, she had the opportunity to cheer on “The Rock” as their football team made it to the final four in Division II in 2019. She also recently completed her second track and field season and her third overall year with the track and field program.
It’s been an interesting college experience, to say the least as her true sophomore season for outdoor track and field was cancelled. When she returned for her junior season, the extra bones that she has in her feet caused her great pain, but Fox persevered and was able to get back on the track this spring.
The former District 9 100 and 300-meter hurdles champion and state qualifier is a member of one of the top Division II track and field programs in the entire country as Slippery Rock’s women’s track and field team features multiple All-Americans in 2021.
“I knew Slippery Rock was the right place for me right when I got to campus,” said Fox. “I wanted to be out on my own but close enough to home at the same time. The campus and team were very welcoming, and I am really happy with the decision.”
Though she enjoyed her time participating in every sport, she was likely destined to excel in these two sports in particular as she was coached by her mother, Stacey, in each of these sports during her high school days.
“She never treated me like I was her daughter, and she may have even been a little harder on me than the others. Both her and my dad (Ray) always pushed me to newer heights, and I am really thankful for that and also their support.”
So far in her collegiate track and field career, she has qualified three times for the PSAC Championships (two Indoor and one Outdoor) and competes in both sprinting and hurdles events. She’s also been named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete in each of her three years of college.
Fox previously competed for the All-Girl competitive cheerleading team that was slated to head to the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) National Championships in Orlando in 2020, but the competition was cancelled for the academic year. For the 2021-22 school year, she will be moving over to the co-ed cheer team for the first time as they prepare for a chance to compete at UCA Nationals in 2022.
“I am really just excited to improve in both sports over the remaining few years,” she said. “I had to overcome a lot of obstacles the last two years of school, and I am really just excited to get back to work. I am not satisfied with my times and will continue to train and also have all-new routines to learn and a squad to work with this coming school year for cheer. I am excited for the new experience and to get back to feeling like myself as a runner.”
The AC Valley High alum is also giving back to the sport of cheerleading as an instructor/coach for the National Cheerleading Association (NCA). This organization helps put on camps at high schools, and she is able to travel the region to help cheerleaders improve their skills and knowledge in the sport.
“This is a great job for me because I used to go to these camps growing up. To be able to give back to others in the sport has been a great experience.”
Although there are still plenty of memories to be made in her athletic career, some of her favorites include winning District 9 as an individual in the 100-meter hurdles, getting the chance to compete in the PIAA state meet in track and field, and winning the first D9 title in competitive cheerleading in AC Valley school history. The D9 title in competitive cheerleading in her freshman year of high school is quite an accomplishment as the Falcons did not just win it for small schools but were rather crowned champions outright of the entire district.
“I remember we hit a really clean routine, but we did not expect to win the entire competition. After we did, I can remember sprinting to find my mom and the excitement we shared was one of the highlights of my life and my athletic career.”
While the last year and some odd months have been difficult for her with injury, having a cheer and track season taken from her, missing over an entire year of her college experience in a social aspect, and various other challenges, the 2021-22 school year is shaping up to be a much better one for Emma Fox.
She is excited to cheer The Rock football program on as they look to repeat as PSAC Champions. She will finally get the Florida trip she has been looking forward to as she and her teammates can compete in the national competition, and she will have a full indoor and outdoor track and field season next school year which will go a long way in her getting back to the sport in the full capacity that she desperately missed.
The athletic aspect of her college experience paired with starting to get closer to reaching her goal of becoming a teacher will make her final two years at Slippery Rock exciting ones.