Athlete of the Week: Emily O’TooleWAHS Sophomore is getting faster by the second
November 17, 2017
By Tyler Harrison | Contributing Writer
Emily O’Toole just finished her first season of cross country and is about to start her second season of track & field at West Ashley High. As a sophomore, she has plenty of time to continue developing and growing as an athlete. In just one season of cross country, O’Toole was able to improve her personal record (PR) by four whole minutes. Her very first time running a cross country 5K this season she finished with a time of 27:11. By the end of the season, she competed in the State Qualifier and finished with a time of 23:11! “After talking with her at the end of the season, she stated that she now felt she belonged on the cross country course,” says Cross Country Coach Robert McCarthy. “So Emily came out not only a better runner, but also with the ability to see how being diligent through hard work in pursuit of excellence can pay off greatly.”
O’Toole has found success in both cross country and track & field. In addition to running 5Ks as part of the cross country team, O’Toole also runs the 400-meter dash, the 800-meter dash, and the one mile in track & field. Her biggest accomplishment was finishing first in the 400-meter dash last season. With the way she shattered her PR by four whole minutes in cross country this season, O’Toole is looking forward to improving her PRs in track & field too.
O’Toole takes her training very seriously; she works hard to become a better athlete at every single practice. “During the season Emily showed the mental fortitude to stay committed to the sport,” says McCarthy. When it comes to running, training is more than just the physical aspect, there’s also a mental component. “Your mind gets the best of you before your body,” says O’Toole. She claims it takes time to overcome this. “The more experience, the better you get,” says O’Toole. One way O’Toole trains to improve in this area is by alternating between a recovery pace and workout pace when running.
A big contributor to O’Toole’s success, she claims, is her team. “Everybody has a spot on the team,” says O’Toole. “We all encourage each other and we’re all really close.” One teammate in particular that O’Toole thinks pushes and holds the team together is senior Isabel Del Mastro. “If we’re feeling down, she’s always lifting us up, telling us it’s going to be okay,” says O’Toole.
O’Toole would love to participate in either cross country or track & field in college. If time allows, she may do both. “She felt at the beginning of the season she was just out running and couldn’t see herself being able to run times as fast as that, but now that she has, it has given her confidence in moving forward in the future,” says McCarthy.
Since she is a young student-athlete, O’Toole is keeping her options open, but she already has eyes on the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina, or Clemson University. O’Toole wants to study Elementary Education because she likes working with kids and has always wanted to be a teacher. “I like the idea of being able to help make the future successful by educating kids,” says O’Toole.