Q&A: Emma Stutzman, Pomona runner

Pomona cross country star sweeps Jeffco League Championships, Regionals en route to state

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/26/21

Pomona junior Emma Stutzman is no stranger to winning on big stages. Stutzman repeated as 5A Jeffco League champion and 5A regional champion on Oct. 15 and 21, respectively and now has her eye on a …

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Q&A: Emma Stutzman, Pomona runner

Pomona cross country star sweeps Jeffco League Championships, Regionals en route to state

Posted

Pomona junior Emma Stutzman is no stranger to winning on big stages. Stutzman repeated as 5A Jeffco League champion and 5A regional champion on Oct. 15 and 21, respectively and now has her eye on a bigger prize: the state championship.

The Arvada Press spoke with Stutzman ahead of the Oct. 30 state championships in Colorado Springs, which Stutzman finished third in last year.

Their conversation has been edited slightly for clarity. 

What was your mindset going into this season?

I knew that there was always the possibility that a new freshman would come along, or some of these juniors and sophomores would get faster, but after last year, I kind of had that expectation that I was going to be pushing myself to be winning these races, knowing I’d be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t winning them.

How do you manage expectations?

I’ve turned it into a motivation point rather than a stressor, like saying, ‘I want the articles written about me, not somebody else, I want that to be our title, I don’t want this freshman to beat me.’ Making sure that I’m using it to push ma and not thinking about ‘what if this goes wrong,’ and thinking of it as, ‘I’m going to get the articles, I’m going to have my name on that title,’ and using that to kind of push myself in the race and push myself in training.

What was your game plan going into League Championships and Regionals?

League’s was different because we had a different game plan; we just wanted my first mile to be as fast as I could possibly make it, and then try to make the next two as fast as I could after doing that really fast first mile.

But getting out in front of all the girls so quickly was pretty exciting, just being out by myself and knowing I don’t have to worry about any of these other girls, like I’m good, I can worry about my time, my pace, how I’m feeling.

And then with regionals, our plan was to keep with the pack for the first mile and a half and then break away, and with that one, I really just got used to the course, there was a pretty decent sized hill. And that’s a big part of our training, is trailing on hills to where when we get into these races, they don’t scare us. So, rushing up that hill, and then knowing I had a gap on the second-place finisher was really motivational and exciting.

How does having a co-educational practice regimen and team
environment impact your training?

I’ve run with the boys most of the time, so having a close team with the boys and the girl’s team definitely helps on that standpoint, and we all get to joke around with each other. We aren’t super sensitive on many topics, so we kind of joke about everything.

We all have fun together and push each other, and we’re all super competitive so when the boys beat me in a rep, they’ll kind of talk trash, and when I beat them, I’ll talk trash, so it’s just fun.

What’s it like having your sister, Jordain, a freshman, on the team this year?

We get home and she’ll be like, ‘Oh, practice was horrible,’ and I’ll ask her, `What did you did you do?’ and she’ll tell our parents and I’ll be like, ‘That’s not that bad.’

So, it definitely changes the aspects of practice because I’ll say something at home and she’ll bring it up, or I’ll do something at home and she’ll bring it up and I will laugh and joke about it, and then she’ll do something at home and I’ll bring it up.

Both of your parents were Pomona athletes. What is it like to have your whole family be Panthers?

My mom was a running, I’m pretty sure she did the 200 and the 400, and then she did cross country her senior year along with volleyball. She didn’t practice with the team, so she wasn’t as close as our team now and she thinks it’s great because her team wasn’t as close (as we are).

My dad played football and then he was a league champion wrestler for Pomona.

It’s helpful because we’ll look back and my mom will be like, ‘Oh, I remember doing that,’ or ‘I remember this, I remember that,’ and my dad, he kind of just teases us a lot. When I first joined the team, my grandparents were asking us what the school colors were and stuff and I was like, ‘black, silver and red,’ and he was like, ‘it’s scarlet.’

And every day we walk by their pictures and it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my dad.’ All the wrestlers have figured out that he was my dad, they saw the wall and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s my dad right there.’

What are your expectations at state?

I definitely want to place withing the top two. I really want to be sticking with (Cherry Creek’s) Riley Stewart) for as long as I can. She’s definitely always been a big competition for me, so being able to stick with her and be just as close to her as I can is definitely what I’m shooting for.

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