Siblings Emma and Adam Sjolund have an understanding.
Sumner High’s long distance sibling duo has the track and field team buzzing a season after Emma opened the team’s — and opponents’ — eyes.
“We have an understanding with each other,” Emma joked. “We both know our strengths. I have more speed on Adam, but he has better times than I do in the mile and half mile.”
As long as Emma locks down the girls’ side of things, Adam will do the same for Sumner’s boys team. And if Emma’s freshman season last year was any indicator of her brother’s talent, Adam is in for an eventful season.
It’s just getting more confidence in myself when I race. Not being nervous going against others, and worry about myself out there.
As a freshman, Emma made it to state and placed in the 800-meter (seventh; 2 minutes, 15.71 seconds), 1600 (12th; 5:20.53) and was a member of the girls 4x400 meter relay (4.00.18) that took third. She also competed in the 400, but didn’t qualify out of the prelims.
“I had a really good time at state, (but) I do miss those girls,” Emma said of her 4x400 relay teammates from a year ago. “They really helped me become a stronger runner.”
That strength led to Emma having a terrific cross country season where the sophomore took third at the district meet (20:08.4) before placing 12th at the state meet (18:56.6).
Emma entered the week with the top time in the West Central District III in the 800 (2:18.02) — good for sixth-fastest in the state — and third-fastest in the 1,600 (5:13.70) in the district.
She’s more conditioned this year — well, she’s always been incredibly conditioned, but this year she’s been more confident.
Sumner girls coach Kristin Champan
“She’s more conditioned this year — well, she’s always been incredibly conditioned, but this year she’s been more confident,” girls track coach Kristin Chapman said.
There was something different about Sumner’s last cross country season in the fall that led her to her success.
We have an understanding with each other. We both know our strengths. I have more speed on Adam, but he has better times than I do in the mile and half mile.
Call it Emma’s ace.
A year after she was the new kid on the teams, it has become Adam’s chance to turn heads and open eyes during his freshman season.
“The way he works and how hard he works really motivates me to be better. He has so much potential, it’s just how to help him tap into it,” Emma said.
Adam has as much, if not more potential that Emma, who has already demonstrated she’s a state-level runner after only one season. Then there’s Adam, not even 5-feet tall like his sister, whose high school track world is just opening up — with potential to be something great for the boys track team.
“I’m happy with how I’ve done so far, and I hope I can go on and prove my times,” Adam said.
Those times are already impressing early on as Adam has given boys coach Maurice Dudley hope that he’s found his answer with his boys mile (3,200) and half-mile (1,600) events.
“We haven’t had someone on our boys team with his skill in over five years,” Dudley said. “Instead of sliding someone from the shorter sprints into our long distant races — or forfeiting a race — we know who we have doing those races. (Adam) gives the other boys less to worry about.”
Adam’s times rank eighth in the 3,200 (10:00.63) in the district and 25th in the 1,600 (4:45.69), both numbers Adam believes he can improve before the season’s end.
We haven’t had someone on our boys team with his skill in over five years. Instead of sliding someone from the shorter sprints into our long distant races, or forfeiting a race, we know who we have doing those races.
Sumner boys coach Maurice Dudley
“It’s just getting more confidence in myself when I race. Not being nervous going against others, and worry (ing) about myself out there,” Adam said.
It’s an understanding of one’s talent that will allow Adam to reach his full potential, much like his sister did the year before.