Emily Sharp talks record, Russian and unicycles

Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There is now a new name in the Juneau-Douglas record books after junior trackster Emily Sharp set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.45 at the Skyview Invite in Soldotna over the weekend.

After the race, which Sharp won by more than 1.5 seconds, she was informed she had broken a school record time of 15.50 set in 1983. Needless to say, happiness ensued.

"When I found out I broke the record I was really excited," she said. "I wasn't sure how old it was until (Sunday), so it was pretty exciting."

Her time blew all the competition out of the water at the meet, and Sharp singled out the performance as her best.

"It was the best race I've ever run," she said. "And my shin wasn't hurting too bad, so it was a good day."

Sharp, who was born in Ketchikan and has lived in Juneau since fifth grade, said her love for track has developed in recent years.

"I started track as a freshman in high school with no experience," she said. "It was kind of a surprise. I felt like I was getting a little better my sophomore year, and then I felt like I really started taking initiative in track this year."

She said her inspiration comes from her friends, teammates and coaches who push her along the way, but track isn't the only sport or hobby at which she excels.

Not to downplay the achievement of setting a school record in the hurdles, but Sharp said she's had an even biggeraccomplishment.

"I've unicycled from the roundabout on Douglas up to Eaglecrest," she said. "It took about three hours, but it was good ride. I've never felt more tired in my life."

As most good athletes do, Sharp found a way to keep in shape during the offseason. Her way is just slightly moreunorthodox.

"(Unicycling is) a good way to cross train for track," she said. "It works my legs and core because it's a complete exercise of your entire body.

"It's one of the most exhilarating things, too, which also keeps me in shape mentally for track."

It's obvious now where any good unicyclist gets their ability to balance on one wheel while riding. It's all in the genes.

Sharp started on a unicycle in eighth grade because her father, a proficient unicyclist himself, introduced her to the hobby. Now, along with her twin sister Samantha, Emily has found a group of friends that also enjoy a good ride on a unicycle, and that continues to be a favorite activity of hers outside of track.

Unicycling aside, Sharp said she enjoys trying things that are different, which also explains her pursuit of the Russian language.

"I like Russian (class) - Russian's pretty fun," said Sharp. "I started off with French, but I didn't like it enough. So I decided to try something a little more unique."

Already possessing the ability to unicycle and speak a little Russian, Sharp's unique abilities should serve her well at the next level, where she hopes to pursue a track career in college on the West Coast. But as a junior, she has yet to select a school.

Sharp said when she gets to the next level academically she'd like to pursue a career in teaching, or at least something that involves people.

"I like being around kids I don't know so I can teach them," she said. "It's kind of cool fulfilling people's knowledge."

With a sense of what she wants to accomplish in the future, Sharp demonstrated the ability to keep things in perspective for herself and her track teammates for the year and season at hand. She said while it's great to set a new Crimson Bears record, her sights are still set dead ahead.

"I want to place at state and hopefully do as well as I did last year, or even better," she said. "I also want to do a pentathlon next year, hopefully."

With the skills and accomplishments Sharp has already grasped, one would be wise to bet on her to fulfill those goals as well.

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