Emma Langis thought her junior season was going to be a disappointment, and the frustration mounted because it was beyond her control.
Something didn’t feel right as the Ridgefield track star trained at the end of last summer. Langis was eventually diagnosed with a stress fracture in her hip. Coming off a spectacular sophomore outdoor season in her newly adopted sport, when she won the 300 hurdles at the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open Championships, Langis had to spend weeks on crutches, endure a winter of physical therapy and was not able to begin training until last March.
As soon as Langis returned, she suffered from shin splints and had other setbacks. She was not able to put in serious work until the end of April, just a week away from the start of postseason championships.
“I wasn’t even sure I would make it to New Englands or nationals because of the late start,” Langis said. “I just really focused on things I could control. I really focused on my form going over the hurdles. Making the most of the season.”
Langis did much more than just salvage it. She defended her 300 hurdle titles and added the New England championship to her collection.
Last month, at the New Balance Nationals, Langis set the state record while finishing third in the Emerging Elite division.
“The nationals race was definitely a big breakthrough for me,” Langis said. “I think I dropped almost two seconds off my previous PR. It was amazing. It was probably a testament to how hard work always pays off. There were times when it was pretty rough and I struggled, especially in the first few races back, but I just stuck with it and tried to keep a positive attitude and it really paid off for me.”
Because of the late start, Langis decided to compete at the Junior Olympics in Sacramento. She finished sixth yesterday to earn All-American honors.
Langis said there was one way she was able to turn her injury into a positive.
“I would probably feel a little burnt out at this point but I was probably fresher for the postseason and just trying to build off that momentum,” Langis said. “Really focusing on improving my times.”
Langis came to Ridgefield as a soccer and lacrosse player. Langis made an impact right away in soccer, and as a sophomore scored the winning goal in a big regular win over St. Joseph. The Tigers would go on to win the state title.
But in what has become a growing trend, Langis initially ran track to maintain her fitness and quickly discovered it was where she had the greatest upside and made it her sole sport. She eventually got moved to the hurdles by Ridgefield coach John Goetz.
“I had run a pretty decent 300 time in indoors and I had run the 800 a couple of times so he really tried to get some of the middle distance runners to try the hurdles when I was a freshman,” Langis said. “It stuck with some people and not with others. I found success early on and was able to make it to New Englands that year. I was kind of shaky but it became my event and I love it now.”
Langis can now take a break and focus on her senior year. She is on the radar of some top academic schools. She plans to major in chemistry.
Given the success she had this spring coming off the injury, Langis is also excited about the times she can post during a healthy senior year.
Speaking of her goals, Langis said, “Honestly, just qualifying for the championship division at nationals and keeping my win streaks at New Englands and states next year. I’m trying to break 60.”