Vaught’s note: Sometimes in retirement I just miss writing about high school athletics, so today I have a feature on a special three-sport athlete from Boyle County who I think is being overlooked by Division I coaches in perhaps all three sports. Enjoy getting to know Boyle County senior Emmie Harris.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Emmie Harris really does not know what she considers her best sport or what sport she would like to play in college. But this much is clear — she’s a special athlete.
The Boyle County High School senior to be recently won both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the Class AA state track meet and was also on two relay teams that earned points to help Boyle win its first state title.
On the basketball court, she averaged 21.4 points per game as a junior to rank among the state’s top 15 scorers. She led Boyle to another 20-win season.
In soccer, she scored 17 goals and had 20 assists in 26 games for 21-3-2 Boyle.
“I honestly can’t choose which is my best sport,” said Harris, who has a sister playing soccer at the University of Louisville. “It’s such a hard decision about which one to play in college. Track has really heaped me a lot in both soccer and basketball. I was not that fast as a freshman.
“If I just focused on one sport, I would do like the year-round travel team and stuff like that. But that’s not what I wanted to do.”
However, it could be why she’ll be under recruited because once she gets to college and focuses on one sport, she could dramatically improve in that sport if that is possible.
She participates in summer team basketball workouts and goes to some camps. But she also makes sure to find time to hone her soccer skills.
“I used to play year-round basketball in middle school. Now I just make sure I find time to work on shooting by myself,” she said.
She has a strong work ethic. She went to Florida for spring break in April during track season but was up early every day at the beach to run and work out even though those with other were sleeping in.
“I usually got up about 8 and worked out for an hour or so and then came back and went to the beach,” Harris said. “There were not many other people out when I first got out there in the mornings.”
The training paid off as she won the 100 hurdles, an event she had not participated in until this year, and the 300 after finishing in the state in 2015. Earlier in the season she broke the school record for the 300 hurdles held by her sister, Hannah.
“I was really disappointed I didn’t win the 300 last year,” Harris said. “But I never expected to win the 100. I was basically only running it because we did not have a 4×800 relay team this year.”
Harris says her sister has always influenced her and they often played sports together growing up.
“She would make me go outside and I had to make 20 free throws,” Harris said. “We would play soccer and basketball together. Mom would leave us notes to do 30 minutes of basketball, 30 minutes of soccer and 15 minutes of reading before watching TV. She made us remember academics.”
Harris is a Kentucky fan — and always has been. She says it has “not been too bad” having her sister playing soccer at Louisville.
“I remember mom having a UK sticker on her car when Hannah first started playing there. Hannah needed the car and had to pull the sticker off,” Harris said. “I am not too big into just picking one favorite team. I like Louisville okay.”
Another influence on Harris has been family friend Nathan Schepman, the owner of Melton’s Great American Deli where both Harris and her mom work.
“Nathan is a hoot. When mom moved to Boyle County, he was our neighbor. We have lived on the same road since fifth grade,” she said. “He doesn’t cut me much slack. I know he just wants to motivate me. But if I need anything, he will be there for me.”
Schepman believes she is a Division I athlete just like her sister.
“I know I can potentially play D1. That’s what my coaches have told me and college coaches have told me,” Harris said. “I can also play at a lot of D3 schools. I have a lot of thinking to do. A lot just depends on what I want to major in, where I feel most at home and what sport I want to play.”
If I was a Division I basketball coach, I certainly would check out Harris and evaluate her potential in a few years because there are no questions about her athleticism and work ethic.