Girls Track: Lyons’ Emma Haugen hones in on heptathlon
Updated: July 19, 2012 5:23PM
Here’s one site you don’t always see, but it’s going on every day at Hinsdale Central’s campus.
Lyons sophomore Emma Haugen is practicing for the upcoming heptathlon by throwing a javelin at the school’s Centennial Field, which is primarily used as the soccer field during the high school season. The javelin is not an IHSA event, but it’s among the seven-event heptathlon Haugen will compete in next week at USA Track and Field’s Junior Olympics Monday through July 29 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.
Haugen, the defending Class 3A state champion in the high jump, competed in three events in last year’s Junior Olympics in Wichita, Kans. She finished third in her division in the high jump.
But since three of her favorite events are on the list for the heptathlon, the coaching staff at Haugen’s club, Hinsdale-based Zephyrs track club, suggested she try the other four events. Haugen is pretty well established as a competitor in the heptathlon’s 100-meter hurdles, high jump and long jump. She has learned the javelin, shot put, 800 and 200 in roughly a week leading up to the Region 7 meet July 5-8 at Franklin College in Franklin, Ind.
She trounced the competition in the Intermediate Girls division in her first career heptathlon, winning with 3,630 points to beat Lilia Edwards of Huskies TC (3,064).
Haugen has quickly learned that there are some events that come just easy to her compared to others.
“Some of my coaches thought I should try the heptathlon. I did it, but it was not exciting,” Haugen said. “After the 800, I thought I was going to die. That was a long distance.”
Haugen has a new appreciation for what Lyons distance runners go through. The longest distance she usually runs in competition is the 200. The La Grange resident plans on coming out for the cross country team for the first time this fall, but doesn’t imagine running varsity-level times. She plans on doing the after-school workouts to help her improve her jumps and hurdles.
She said she has run three miles only one previous time in her life.
Her load for the Junior Olympics will increase since she will compete in the javelin, shot put and 100 hurdles possibly three times in order to reach the heptathlon’s finals in those events. Haugen’s other events will be the high jump, long jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles. The triple jump is not part of the heptathlon.
“After regionals, I was really tired. I came back Sunday, we had no practice Monday and then on Tuesday I was working on throwing and stuff. I did not really run,” Haugen said.
Haugen won the Class 3A state title by going 5-foot-7 in the high jump. She also qualified in the long jump and triple jump.
At nationals, she will likely compete in 16 different heats or rounds in all of her events. Haugen is nearly 6-foot tall and owns a hurler-high jumper type of body. Perhaps her toughest event has been the shot put.
“Shot put has been short of interesting,” said Haugen, who uses the simple slide step. “And I’m not a thrower.”
At the regional, she was among seven competitors in the heptathlon, but that number should balloon at the Junior Olympics. In the regional heptathlon, she won 100 hurdles (15.89), high jump (5-7 3/4) and long jump (16-0 1/4) while taking third in javelin and fourth in shot put. In her usual individual events, she was second in 100 hurdles, won high jump (5-3 3/4), won triple jump (34-0 1/4) and took fifth in long jump.
One of Haugen’s greatest challenges at the Junior Olympics will be finding the time to compete in so many events. She would have liked to have gone higher in the regional’s high jump, but did not have enough time to prepare given a time limit before the event.