After a long and varied varsity career at North Callaway that included competing for head coach Morgan Beamer with the Lady Thunderbird's basketball team and several different skippers for the Lady T-Bird's volleyball squad, Nicole Emmons greatest lessons may have been learned in the spring.
Scholarships aren't easy to come by. Emmons found that out the hard way when her offers failed to come pouring in to continue her game on the college hardwood. Playing for multiple different volleyball coaches and finishing each season towards the bottom of the Eastern Missouri Conference certainly didn't do her future any favors, either. But, her time with Reid Randolph and the North Callaway Track and Field Team was another story all together.
That tale may not have been the one Emmons expected to have the happy ending, but that's exactly the way things went as the 2018 graduate just recently completed her first year competing for the Track and Field Team at Columbia College, where she took part in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
"We first learned of Nicole when she reached out to us about the possibility of joining our team as discus thrower," said Columbia Men's and Women's head coach Tracy Jex. "What made her the right fit for our program was that she was willing to be coachable. She listened to her coaches and did everything that was asked of her."
During the indoor season Emmons competed in five events for the Lady Cougars. Results included placing 10th in the Shot Put at 7.90 meters and 12th in the Weight Throw with a distance of 8.65 meters at the Missouri Holiday Open in Columbia on Dec. 8. She also finished ninth in the Shot Put with a throw of 8.86 meters and 15th in the Weight Throw at 10.34 meters at the Missouri Intercollegiate at the University of Missouri on Jan. 11 to help her team place third for the event.
"Nicole is a great person. She has a great attitude, always smiling, even when the practice is hard," Jex said. "I would describe her freshman campaign as a growing season. The hardest part for any freshman is that you are usually the top dog, beating people at meets pretty easily because you are the senior. Now in her freshman year you are competing against the best of the best and it gets harder. Nicole was learning new events and tweaking her technique so it will take a while."
Once it came time for the outdoor season Emmons was a slightly more seasoned individual who was able to take 11th in the Discus at 29.11 meters and 12th in the Hammer Throw with a 29.95 meter showing at the American Midwest Conference Championships April 26-27 in Greenville, Il. The former Ladybird was 22nd in the Hammer Throw in 32.87 meters and 23rd in the Discus with a toss of 28.44 at the William Jewell Darryl Gourley Invite on April 13 in Liberty, MO., as well.
"Nicole has done a great job adjusting. That jump is a big jump, and it can be hard," said Jex. "Learning to balance both your free time, sports and academics. Nicole has always had a positive attitude and works very hard, which are great attributes for her future."
One factor working in Emmons favor is that her parents attended all of her meets this season. Her father, Mike Emmons, just retired as the Athletic Director of her high school, North Callaway, and now plans on following her collegiate athletic career even closer as she competes more often next season for Columbia College.
"Nicole does a lot of things well," Jex said. "I think, like a lot of people, Nicole needs to improve on just continuing to work hard, balance between sports and academics, and most importantly managing expectations for what she can do for our team."