Emily Russell didn’t have an extensive background in track and field, having taken up the sport as a junior. That made what the Southold High School athlete accomplished her senior year all the more impressive.
A natural in the pentathlon, comprising five events, Russell not only became the first Southold/Greenport girl to qualify for the state outdoor meet and make All-County, but was the Section XI Division II champion. Not only that, but with a personal-record 2,755 points, she finished third at the state meet (and ninth in the federation) at Middletown High School in her final meet representing Southold/Greenport. The sectional pentathlon title she won a week earlier was her first-ever pentathlon.
Southold coach Karl Himmelmann said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better ending … Words cannot describe how elated I am about how she did.”
After missing the team bus to Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood for the Suffolk County League V Championships last winter, Russell thought she was in for a “terrible day.” It turned out to be anything but.
Her parents drove her to the college and Russell took care of the rest, winning league titles in both the high jump and shot put.
Not a bad day after all.
After equaling her personal-best height of 5 feet in the high jump, Russell leaped for joy and high-fived Himmelmann and assistant coach Bill Hiney.
“That would have been really cool if I got to 5-2, but I’m still ecstatic,” said Russell, whose throw of 32-4 brought her the shot put title as well.
Hiney, who works with Russell in the field events, said: “You can’t teach some things. She’s athletic. I can’t teach strong, either. She’s just a well-rounded athlete.”
Russell brought that ability into the spring season and was rewarded.
She said, “It was a great way to end it.”