Every year thousands of incoming students come to WSU ready to start a new chapter in their lives. The same goes for freshmen Emily Dwyer, who is finding her niche in cross-country running.
She said she enjoys running and has met some incredible teammates, including the person she relies on the most for advice — senior runner and women’s cross-country captain, Caroline Austin.
With all the experience and success Austin has had on and off the course, Dwyer said she sees Austin as a role model and a friend.
“She’s very welcoming and any questions you have, she’ll answer them,” Dwyer said. “She’s easy to talk to.”
Dwyer’s road to WSU started her senior year at Eastlake High School in Sammamish.
Through her high school running career, Dwyer said she wasn’t considering cross-country as an option in college. But in her senior season, she decided to give it a shot.
Emily said she contacted former WSU cross-country coach Pete Julian and was set up with an official visit to the university.
“Pete emailed me back and I went on a visit and loved it.” Dwyer said.
Another reason WSU was so appealing to Dwyer was because she said she wanted to continue her family’s legacy as a Cougar.
“My whole family pretty much came here.” Dwyer said.
Dwyer's brother, Steve, used to run for WSU and graduated in 2002. He first introduced Dwyer to the sport she now loves.
“My brother was a runner and a decathlete,” Dwyer said. “My sister and I decided to try long distance running.”
Dwyer started competing in long distance running through a running club in seventh grade and won her first race in ninth grade for the junior varsity cross-country team and turned into a star long-distance runner for Eastlake High School, shattering multiple school track records.
Now making the transition from high school long-distance running to the Pac-12, Emily is already starting to make her mark at the university.
Dwyer ran in the 6k WCC Preview Meet in Portland, Ore., last Saturday, which was the longest race of her career. Dwyer was able to finish in 29th place against runners from top schools, such as Gonzaga and Chico State, and ran the second-best time out of all the WSU women runners competing in the race.
“I was just focusing on getting through the 6k,” Dwyer said.
The biggest adjustment Dwyer said she has made while running at WSU is getting used to the level of competition in division-one.
Other than that, Dwyer said that she is able to handle the training and is developing a routine that is helping her survive her first year of college.