Lakeside’s Milbourn perseveres, signs with La. Tech
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.”
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.