Lake­side’s Mil­bourn per­se­veres, signs with La. Tech

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES LEIGH The Sen­tinel-Record

De­spite health is­sues wreak­ing havoc on her train­ing and per­for­mance in her track and cross coun­try sea­sons since last Oc­to­ber, Lake­side cross coun­try stand­out Emily Mil­bourn has made the de­ci­sion to con­tinue her run­ning ca­reer at the next level.

Mil­bourn, who helped lead the Lake­side cross coun­try team to a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship as a fresh­man, signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent Mon­day to com­pete in cross coun­try at Louisiana Tech Univer­sity.

Mil­bourn was named to the all-con­fer­ence and all-state teams in cross coun­try both as a fresh­man and sopho­more, and was an all-state se­lec­tion in the mile and the 800-me­ter runs. She also ran with the Lit­tle Rock Track Club, lead­ing to her be­ing able to com­pete in the sum­mer of 2015 at the USATA state and na­tional out­door meets.

Af­ter stand­out sea­sons as a fresh­man and sopho­more, Mil­bourn con­tracted mononu­cle­o­sis in Oc­to­ber of last year.

“It knocked me out of al­most the en­tire cross coun­try sea­son last year,” she said, not­ing that she had a re­lapse in March that kept her from com­pet­ing in track last spring. “We got a new coach for this com­ing year, started in the sum­mer. I started work­ing the end of June work­ing my butt off, work­ing harder than I’ve ever worked with him, all the way up un­til the last

week­end in Septem­ber, and I crashed again. I ran two min­utes slow and col­lapsed.”

The dis­ease left Mil­bourn with se­vere headaches and fa­tigue, cre­at­ing a near-im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion for a run­ner, which led to her re­con­sid­er­ing her col­lege choice.

“It just makes it so that the more I train, the slower I get and the worse I feel,” she said. “When I came down (with it) again, that was kind of when I had this re­al­iza­tion that run­ning shouldn’t be the only part of my de­ci­sion when it comes to col­lege. I started go­ing to the ‘Am I even go­ing to run in col­lege?’ kind of thing. There was a point in time that I hated run­ning and I never wanted to do it again, and it is just ironic now that I re­ally, re­ally want to do it and en­joy it, I phys­i­cally can’t.”

With the plan to be­come a ve­teri­nar­ian, Mil­bourn de­cided to choose Louisiana Tech al­low­ing her a stronger aca­demic pro­gram to fall back on in the event that her run­ning ca­reer con­tin­ued to be hin­dered.

“I had a very broad scope of places I was look­ing at all around the re­gion,” she said. “I didn’t re­ally want to go in-state any­where, and Louisiana Tech was kind of on our radar be­cause we knew peo­ple who had gone there… Their pre-vet pro­gram is what re­ally did it for me. I want to be a vet. Seventy per­cent of their pre-vet grad­u­ates get into vet school, so that was some­thing that ob­vi­ously I wanted to con­sider. The other place I was look­ing, the only thing I re­ally considered was run­ning, and that’s not go­ing to sus­tain me for the rest of my life.”

Submitted photo

SIGN­ING DAY: Lake­side se­nior Emily Mil­bourn, seated cen­ter, signs a na­tional let­ter of in­tent to run cross coun­try for Louisiana Tech Univer­sity Mon­day at Lake­side High School. Pic­tured are, seated l-r, her mother Ruth Mil­bourn and fa­ther Craig Mil­bourn, stand­ing l-r, Lake­side coaches Kar­rie Er­win and Jeff Haynes.

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