Run, don’t walk: West Albany soph chases dreams

Athlete of the Week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Emily Stefan started sprinting to win cookies, now she’s running to make her dreams come true. 

The West Albany High School sophomore went to junior high in Oklahoma. Her school sold cookies every Wednesday but Emily never had to spend money when she wanted some. 

“You got like 2 cookies for a dollar and I would race boys for cookies,” Emily said. “I would race them and if I beat them, they had to buy me cookies.” 

Aside from winning many baked treats, those schoolyard races paved the way for Emily’s track dreams. 

West Albany High School sophomore Emily Stefan, March 14, 2019 (KOIN)

Emily and her family moved from Oklahoma to Albany where she now runs track for the Bulldogs. Her coach, Bryan Wadlow, said she has that rare combination of talent and self-motivation. 

“The thing that stands out the most is her commitment to her own development and the additional time that she puts in and her constant improvement,” said Wadlow. 

Emily’s freshman times have already attracted international attention. She will represent Team USA this July at the Down Under Sports – Track and Field meet in Australia. 

“It feels really good,” said Emily. “I feel like it’s a big step in my whole career with track and stuff.” 

Emily has already set her sights on the University of Oregon as her chosen college to run for once she graduates high school. She even sported a U of O singlet in the 2018 Track Town Youth League championship and got a special shout-out from the announcer. 

“That kind of started my whole thing that I wanted to run for a Division 1 college,” said Emily. “I just think being able to get a scholarship and do all those fun things and run would be really awesome.” 

A runner gets set at the starting line at a track meet, March 2019 (KOIN)

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