Posted: August 22, 2017

In an alternate reality, Emma Jenkins would not be the reigning 4A Greater St. Helens League (GSHL) district and Westside Classic regional cross country champion and the league’s top returning runner from last year’s state meet.

The Camas High School senior would instead have been ranging along the right sideline for the girls soccer team, helping the Papermakers win the 2016 state championship.

In middle school, Emma was an outside midfielder for the Washington Timbers Football Club, where she enjoyed getting to run around the field making plays.

Cross country running is a family affair for (from left) Halle, Jenna, and Emma Jenkins. Photo credit: Rene Ferran
She also ran track and cross country as a middle schooler and even won the 2013 GSHL middle school championships as an eighth-grader at Liberty Middle School, but she just was not that into running at that point in her life.

No matter – she couldn’t fight her destiny. Emma’s mom, Jenna (nee Carlson), was twice an All-American in cross country and once in track while running for the University of Oregonfrom 1991-1996. Emma’s aunts also ran collegiately.

Jenna never pushed either of her daughters, Emma and younger sister, Halle, to become runners. That did not mean she did not hope Emma would eventually come around to running.

“She had to find it out for herself,” Jenna said. “I just wanted her to do what she wanted to do, but I was happy she leaned that way.”

And Emma quickly discovered that she was a lot better at cross country than she ever was at soccer.

She won her very first high school race as a freshman at the Greater St. Helens League Jamboree, was runner-up at districts that year and eventually finished fourth at state to lead Camas to the team title for the fourth time in five years.

Camas High School senior Emma Jenkins has posted three top-10 finishes at the 4A state cross country championships, including placing fifth last fall. Photo credit: Michelle Maton
“Right away, I noticed that her talent was amazing,” said long-time Camas coach Laurie Porter. “And she was quite the competitor. I’m always looking for invites where our team will be challenged, and it brings out the best in Emma when she goes up against people who challenge her and make her work.”

Read the full story at Clark County Talk.