Red-shirt junior cross country star Emma Bates is perhaps the best athlete on campus.
Bates became the first Bronco cross country member to win a conference title in six years. She was also the first Bronco to win a regional cross country championship and was the national runner-up at the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Championship—the highest place of any cross country runner in school history.
“I was hoping for a great season but I never thought it would be this good,” Bates said.
The Minnesota native has been doing cross country for quite some time now.
“As a kid I was in a lot of sports but I didn’t find cross country running until 7th grade,” Bates said. “My mom wanted to wear out some of my energy; I was kinda a hyperactive kid.”
Shortly after joining Bates was officially hooked and found her sport.
“I just fell in love with it and its just such a relaxing thing for me.” Bates said. “The whole team comradery with cross country is just so much fun and I knew I had found my element.”
Bates had to work really hard to get to where she is today.
“I was very mediocre in high school and I wasn’t planning on going to a Division I school,” Bates said. “I never thought I would be competitive at the Division I level at all.”
Bates, however, did get to compete at the Division I.
“I had a connection to Boise State with the cross country coach,” Bates said. “He actually went to my high school and we had the same high school coach for cross country and he got us in contact.”
After her visit Bates knew she had found her home.
“I immediately fell in love with Boise State, the city, scenery and the people,” Bates said. “Just everything seemed to fit and I thought this was a great opportunity for me so I took it.”
Bates credits much of her success to personal growth.
“Having more confidence in myself—the coaches have instilled a lot of confidence in me,” Bates said. “ I have learned how to push myself more and how to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.”
Though cross country is a team sport, Bates said she couldn’t have done it without the support of her friends and family.
“My team has been very supportive and very encouraging. Having them around me has helped a lot,” Bates said. “My family has been a incredible support system. The support system of Bronco Nation is just really really amazing.”
Bates has learned a lot this season and knows there is always room for improvement.
“I always think that there is room for improvement. I never think that I am trying hard enough,” Bates said. “I am never satisfied. I think I can always try harder and work harder.”
Though she is one of the most successful athletes at Boise State in recent history, many people don’t know who she is. However, Bates is content to make a difference where she can.
“I like to inspire as many people as I can and motivate people as much as I can,”