Wilson walks off the track after a grueling steeplechase race at the USA Jr Champs in June
Emma Wilson, the all-american and 5x Indiana state champion, has decided to no longer run for Greencastle Schools due to the treatment of her coach by the school. She will forgo her senior track season at Greencastle High School and run on her own, training with Miles To Go Run Club which is coached by her coach, Craig Jordan. This was an unexpected decision for the University of Illinois signee, that came just a few days ago.
Wilson learned just days before heading to her 2nd Nike Cross Nationals meet that her long-time coach had been placed on administrative leave from Greencastle Schools due to issues between the school and Coach Jordan. The school has remained silent on the current situation and has not answered any emails. We would expect there to be some kind of response by next week, at the December 17th school board meeting, where it sounds like many in the community are going to come out in support of the coach.
"This had been going on for awhile and has been very stressful and emotional for all of us." Chad Wilson spoke of the issues going on with the Greencastle schools.
This created a mental block for her for the big weekend, thus causing her to not be all there for the meet that she finished 14th at the year before and ended up taking 32nd this year. Most of the weekend she was standoff from the rest of her Midwest teammates due to this, and already being a shy person didn't help the situation either. She did fully enjoy her time out in Portland though and still was able to have fun with it.
At this point her career, Wilson has won 5 state titles and had the potential to add at least one more to that this spring. She is the defending champ in the 3200 and she took 4th in the 1600m run.
MileSplit IN has reached out to the Greencastle Superintendent Jeff Hubble, High School Principal Chad Rodgers and the entire school board for comment, but none have responded as of Sunday.
Wilson leads a race last April at Bloomington South HS
What does all of this mean though for Wilson?
To start with the things, she won't be able to do. She won't be able to defend her state title in the 3200, and she will not be able to defend her Flashes Showcase title either. Since she has chosen to not compete under an IHSAA high school, she is unable to compete in IHSAA events, this also includes invitationals across the state during the regular season, since they are scantioned by the IHSAA.
In an article from the IndyStar, Wilson is quoted as saying "I am sad that I'm not going to state," she said. "At this point, I don't even care anymore. I don't want to run for Greencastle any more. I just want to run for coach."
This does open up a range of possibilities though for other competition. During the indoor track season, there are far more opportunities for open meets. Before the last weekend in February the meets are all considered open meets, so from now until about February 26th, Wilson has free range of racing against some of the same kids she has been racing for four years now. During the month of March, nearly all the meets held are HSR qualifying meets, which are run during the official IHSAA season and athletes are not permitted entry unless attached to a high school.
After that, the search begins for college track meets that allow unattached individuals in. Luckily for the senior, she is a matter of minutes from DePauw University, and just under an hour to Indiana State University, Indiana University and Purdue University aren't that far either. Granted the amount of home meets these teams have is small, but it is still something if Wilson can get in to them. Wilson also mentioned that the University of Illinois is not that far of a drive either and that they host a few open meets. This would be a great opportunity for her as she would get to race against some of her future teammates.
Wilson can still also compete at New Balance Indoors and Outdoors, although she will have to hit a qualifying standard in a meet and not just in a practice or time trial. So as long as she can get into at least 1 indoor and 1 outdoor meet and hit the time standard, she will be good to go there. She is confident in her ability to hit a mark needed though to make it to at least the indoor meet right now.
This time also gives her the chance to try out different events that she wouldn't normally have time to dive into during the season. The high school scene typically focuses on the 800, 1600 and 3200, with a few races here and there throwing in the full mile and two mile. Competing without the usual high school scene will allow Wilson to attempt the steeplechase again, like she did over the summer, as well as longer distance events like the 5K. This will give her a prime opportunity to test out which events she feels she excels at and for her future collegiate coaches to see early on what events she is good at.
"We're excited for Emma, and very proud of her for sticking up for what she believes in." Jennifer Wilson, Emma's mother, said.
The opportunities are out there for Emma Wilson to continue competing without being attached the Greencastle High School, the challenge now comes with finding the meets and competing hard every opportunity she gets. There will be lots more traveling involved this season but Emma, and her parents believe it will be worth it in the end.
Emma and her family are actively searching for open meet opportunities, if you know of any and would like to help them out, please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any meet info you have.