For this edition I step out of the bottom six to speak with a young lady from Madison County.Emily Daix Ireland lives in Ridgeland, MS and attends Saint Andrew's Episcopal School.She also happens to be the oldest daughter of my sister.Emily is only in the 8th grade but already has a decorated career in Cross Country and Track & Field.She was the 3A individual champion in Cross Country as an 8th grader after finishing 4th as a 7th grader.As a 7th grader on the track she was the State Champion in the mile and 3200 while she finished 4th in the 800M.On top of that she ran a leg of the 4x8 for St. Andrews that finished second at the State Meet.This season, she currently ranks 7th in the state for the 1600, 18th in the 3200, and 45th in the 800.That's the whole state, all classification.I picked her brain a little bit about her running career as well as the corona virus.
By DP Daigle
DP:What is your name, what grade are you in, and what school do you go to?
EI:Emily Ireland - 8th grader at St. Andrews Episcopal School.
DP:Who is your favorite uncle?
EI:My favorite uncle is you, uncle DP, of course.
DP:Of course, good answer.What is your GPA and ACT score?
EI:My GPA is 3.8. I have not taken the ACT yet.
DP:What are your events for track? What are your Personal Records in those events?
EI: I run the 800, 1600, 3200, and the 4x8.My PR for the 800 is 2:33, my 1600 PR is 5:43, and my 3200 PR is 12:23.
DP:What is the next goal, time, or mark that you are trying to hit?
EI: This year I was going to try to break 5:25 for the 1600 and break 11:45 for the 3200.
DP:What is your 5K PR for cross country?
EI: My 5k PR is 19:51.
DP:Describe the State 3A CC race this year, you finished 1st after finihing 4th as a 7th grader right?
EI:Yes sir, this year I knew I could perform and so I focused a lot on my training.I knew I would have to race hard to stay with the girls, and that day I felt really good.I was leading the entire time and I was determined to have a better result than the year before.I wanted to be proud of my race, and I did that.
DP:What is your favorite workout your Coach has you do?
EI:I like doing tempo runs or fartleks.
DP:What is your least favorite workout?
EI: We have a route on campus for 1200 repeats, and I do not like them.
DP:What are your plans after high school?
EI:After high school, I want to run cross country and track for the University of Oregon.
DP:What motivates you to train?
EI:The feeling of competing in races motivates me to train hard. If I don't train hard, I know I won't be able to perform my best at meets.
DP:Do you have any superstitions on meet day or perhaps an odd pre-meet routine?
EI:I always have to eat Olive Garden pasta the night before and I have to wear my special race socks.
DP:Special race socks?
EI:Yeah, they're a pair of long swiftwicks.The ones I have for track match my track spikes and the ones I have for CC match my CC spikes.
DP:Got it, now for really imporant question...Gatorade or Powerade?
EI:Gatorade for sure. Preferably yellow.
DP:Why yellow Gatorade specifically?
EI:Yellow Gatorade tastes the best.I used to always drink it after soccer practice and it just stuck with me.
DP:Jersey (Singlet), tucked or untucked?
EI:I like leaving my jersey untucked.
DP:Do you have a favorite meal for the night before a meet?
EI:I like eating Olive Garden's chicken alfredo pasta the night before a meet.
DP:Do you take ice baths?If yes, what do you think about during an ice bath?
EI:Yes, I often take ice baths. When I first get in, I tell myself not to get out and not to move because if I move then it will be colder. Then after about two minutes I get used to it and don't notice how cold It is.
DP:Name a lesson that track & field has taught you.
EI:It has taught me to never slack off.If you slack off in track, you won't be able to perform to the best of your abilities.
DP:Do you have a rival runner?Or who is your team's biggest rival?
EI: The competition in 3A has been really strong in all of my individual events during track and cross-country.My cross-country team has had a really close rivalry with Kossuth the last two years. All of those runners have pushed me to do my best.
DP:What do you do to recover after a meet?
EI:After a race I will do a cool down jog and stretch. When I get home that night, I take an ice bath, roll out, and drink a chocolate milk.
DP:What is your favorite thing about your coach?
EI:My favorite thing about my cross-country coach is that she is similar to me in the way that she works very hard. I really like how she gives it her all at coaching us. We have a new track coach this year, and I didn't get much time with him before the season got shut down.But he is very organized.He always has a positive attitude and tries to instill that in us.He wants us to be self motivated, but he motivates us with speeches during our stretches when we warm up.
DP:Who is your biggest fan?
EI:I would say my biggest fan is my dad. He always supports me even when I have a bad race. He is always there to help me with my training and wants the best for me.
DP:What advice would you like to share with younger runners?
EI:I would tell them to stay motivated and always give it your best. I would tell them a saying I like from Steve Prefontaine that says, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift".
DP:I love Pre, great quote.Talk about any injuries you've had to deal with in your career.
EI:I have had to deal with severs. It is a growth plate issue in the heel that some growing athletes deal with. I got the injury about a month before the cross-country state meet in 2018. It was hard news to handle because I wanted to be out training with my teammates. I had to work out on the elliptical andmissed workouts that would have helped me progress as a runner that year. I was able to run in the meet before state with pain and just knew that I would have to push through the pain at state. It continued until regionals of the 2019 track season, after which I thankfully grew out of it.
DP:What are your thoughts about the CoronaVirus?
EI: I think that the CoronaVirus is scary. The thought that what started as a small virus in China that has spread all over the world and could take away my track season really scares me.
DP:What do you think about the possibility of your track season being cancelled because of the virus?
EI:I really do not like the fact that track season might be canceled. It is my favorite sport and to have one out of six high school track seasons taken away from me is very sad but I am still holding out hope that I will still have a state track meet and I'm keeping up my training.
DP:What is your greatest accomplishment in track & field?
EI:My biggest track accomplishment was winning the 1600 at state as a seventh grader. Going into the race, I was not seeded to win, and the girl ranked first had beat me at South State. Winning that race meant a lot to me.
DP:Is there anything else you want to share with the MileSplit Community?
EI:Stay home, stay safe, and I am looking forward to returning to competitive running when it's safe to do so!