High school senior track star uses ‘virtual meets’ to achieve college dreams


VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Seton Catholic senior track star Emma Watkins was preparing for her big breakout season when it abruptly came to an end due to COVID-19. As many seniors have experienced the heartbreak of not officially participating in their last seasons, Watkins has found a way to still compete in her last track season while breaking school records alone and impressing college coaches at the same time.

Watkins competes in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dash as well as the 4×100 relay, and when the track season was been canceled, she recorded herself running the races that she could, and sent them to her coach to approve the times. Though it has been successful, that’s not without saying there is a missing element to it.

“I rely heavily on the competition next to me,” Watkins said. “It’s just hard because sometimes when I come out here I am like what’s the point? No one is here to see it.”

Though there isn’t a crowd cheering Watkins on, she prepares for the races the same as she always does knowing it will benefit her in the long run.

“Before every race I set up my blocks and just close my eyes and think about having competitors all around me,” Watkins added. “I also just think about making my coaches proud and I know college coaches will see it.”

Though physically the college coaches are not at the track meets to watch her compete, the videos have become essential for Watkins to get even more attention from coaches.

“Never in a million years would I have thought I would have virtual track meets, it’s really weird that the videos are so important but I know college coaches will watch,” she said.

The process is much more difficult for Watkins now, compared to just showing upload competing in the track meet. Watkins has to run the race, have someone record the race, decide if it is the video she wants to use. Then, she sends the video to her coach to approve the times, then she posts the videos to Athletic.net, where college coaches can watch her races.

Though times are different and at times frustrating, Watkins loves the sport and just looks forward to competing at the next level. “I have some offers to run track all over the country, I haven’t decided where but I am just excited for wherever I end up next,” she said.

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