Stutesman Embraces The Struggles With The Success

Name: Emily Stutesman

School: Deer Valley HS

1600m - 5:03.25 @ AIA Division 2 State Championships (2016)
3200m - 10:56.07 @ AIA Division 2 State Championships (2016)
This spring, Emily Stutesman capped off an outstanding career full of impressive highs and deep lows for the Deer Valley Skyhawks. Last fall, she clocked two school-records in the 3-mile and 5km and placed 3rd in the D2 Girls' race at the AIA Cross-Country State Championships. This past spring, she landed on the podium twice for the D2 Girls' 1600m and 3200m at the State Meet. The following week she took second in the Girls' 3200m with a season best time of 10:58.50, and her best since her freshman year.
You concluded an incredible career for Deer Valley High School. What was your most memorable race?
My most memorable race would probably be Meet of Champions this year. Finally breaking the 11:00 mark again in the 3200M felt amazing. I remember crossing the line and seeing my time, smiling and crying at the same time. Even though it wasn't a lifetime PR, I was 2 seconds off my freshman time, and I was able to prove to myself that I could break 11:00 again and be a stronger, healthier runner than I was my freshman year.

Did you listen to music before competing? If so what's on your playlist?
Yes, yes, yes! I love to listen to music before competing. I like a variety of music. I listen to some classic oldies, Christian, and then mix in some modern pop stuff, too. I always listen "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi, "The Greatest" by Sia, "The Strength to Let Go" by Switchfoot, and any/all Mercy Me songs! Music is a great pre-race thing!
Do you have any superstitions or rituals that you go through when preparing for meets?
This sounds so dumb, but I always bring my lucky Pillow Pet, Stitch, to track and cross-country meets. It's a Stitch pillow pet I got from Disneyland in seventh grade, right before I started running. I also bring my favorite type of KIND bar, too! Right now, it is Pistachio Blueberry.
Who would you consider your toughest competition over your four years?
Great question! I would say that my biggest completion over the last four years has been my mind. It's hard to fight against those negative thoughts that come during everyday life and especially races. Negative thoughts become that 'devil' on your shoulder. I have had to learn and relearn strategies on how to control the negative thoughts.
You were injured earlier this year in the preseason. What measures did you take to overcome that obstacle and recover for the season?
I was severely anemic and I had to pull back on my training this year. Going into the track season required me to use my new found skills to support myself through a process that doesn't always go as planned. Coach Zent really worked on easing me back into running in general, as well as light workouts. I actually took one week off completely of running, with only very light biking for 40 minutes at the most. Zent reminded me to just focus on enjoying my senior track season, no matter what the outcome was!
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I honestly wouldn't change anything! The struggles and success throughout my career have formed who I am as both an athlete and person. I wouldn't be the same without the adversities that I have faced.

What will you miss the most about competing for your team?
I will miss the goofy inside jokes that my teammates and I came up with along with our annual team dinners. Walking the state meet course with the team the morning of that November race, is something I will especially miss.
What advice would you give to younger athletes struggling with eating disorders?
Seek help when you need it. Reach out to anyone. It's okay to admit you are struggling and need help to overcome it! Seek help from a (professional) dietician for nutrition guidance and NOT google. I would strongly advise younger athletes to take their nutrition seriously.
The main thing is eating enough calories to sustain the stress you are putting on your body. Most of all, have fun and take time to enjoy running. Take deep breaths during your run and be in awe of the feats your body can perform! Coach Zent is a pretty passionate guy and a smart coach.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Coach Zent has taught me to set big goal and learn how to adjust those goals. He has taught me to be patient with the process and grow not just as an athlete, but as a person too! He never gave up on me through the rough patches and dedicated his time and efforts towards helping me achieve my goals!
He also taught me that our struggles are just as much a part of us as our successes. Zent would always tell me, "It's not the place or time that matters, it's the effort you put into the race. Reflect on both the positives and the negatives and push forwards!"
What are your college plans? Have you decided on a major?
I will be attending New Mexico State University in the fall, running cross country and track. I am actually planning on double majoring in Kinesiology and Nutrition.
What was the deciding factor that made you choose New Mexico State University?
The deciding factor was the team atmosphere. I felt like I was at home at New Mexico State University. I could envision myself living at NMSU and growing as both a student and athlete. Go Aggies!
New Mexico State has coaches Doug Reynolds and Joseph Rath heading the program. What do you like about the Aggie program and their coaching styles?
The program at NMSU is amazing! All of the coaches are super supportive and dedicated! Rath does a lot of auxiliary, flexibility, and strength work along with the workout plans! It really helps to work on the whole body and prevent injuries! Coach Reynolds is also involved in the training/coaching process.
Who would you like to thank for your success in high school?
I would like to thank my team, coaches, church, friends, family, and the running community! The running community is amazing. They truly embrace each other as a family.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
"What lies behind and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fun Stuff!

If you could be good at any other sport what would you choose?
Probably basketball so I could beat my brother in a one on one game lol.
What's your favorite vacation spot?
I would have to say California! I love running along the bay and reading on the beach!
What's your favorite T.V. show?
Probably Friends or Grey's Anatomy
What's the best literary work you read in high school?
It would be a tie between Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
What are you most excited to do when you get to Las Cruces?
I am most excited to meet all of the freshmen that are being recruited with me! And to try all the good Mexican food!!!