Athlete of the Week: MaryEmma Hanley


Photo courtesy of MaryEmma Hanley

Aside from her participation in cross country, Hanley also swims and plays tennis on the La Salle teams.

Kendall Whiteside, Assistant Editor

Although junior MaryEmma Hanley had never been active in any sport like cross country before high school, with the support of her sister, alumni Brigid Hanley, she decided to try it out. 

With the encouragement of her older sister, Hanley has been on the La Salle cross country team ever since her freshman year. 

“I got into cross country mostly through my sister,” she said. “She told me [how] she really loved the team, and how nice it was for her to do a fall sport her freshman year.”

Hanley also accredits her sister as her biggest supporter. “Even though she’s a really… good cross country runner, she really has always supported me, and my sports, [and] my running,” she said. 

When Hanley walked into her first season on La Salle’s cross country team, her biggest goal for herself was to be the best female runner on JV and “not be last,” she said.

“[This goal] was a good thing for me because it was an attainable goal that I’ve just worked to for both years,” she said. 

Hanley has met several friends through the cross country team. Senior Olivia Aragon, junior Natalie Fuchs, and junior Alexandria Huwiler make up some of her “closest friendships at La Salle” that she made through the team. 

Although Hanley said there are many fun aspects of cross country, she also noted the roadblocks that sometimes get in her way. “I would say the biggest challenge is probably motivation to really [push] yourself through the pain of running, especially during a race, and try and get through the ‘this hurts so bad’ [part of the race],” she said. 

During Hanley’s races, she said that she keeps track of how much time has passed in her head. “I do that for both swimming and running,” she said. “I like to wear a watch… I’ll try to continually check the time and it works well for me.”

Hanely said her favorite part of a race is when she gets into a good stride. “It’s a good feeling when you’re racing and you feel like you’re doing a good pace [and you start to think] ‘hey, I got this.’”

Hanley’s biggest goal for this upcoming season is to set a new personal record, or “at least get close,” she said.

During her freshman year, at the Linfield Harrier Classic, Hanley realized that she truly enjoyed cross country. “I felt really good running and I passed a lot of people I didn’t normally pass, like my teammates, and after that run I was like, ‘I really love cross country — this is really fun,’” she said. 

Although cross country occupies a lot of Hanley’s time in the fall, she is also involved with the La Salle swim team during the winter and the La Salle girls tennis team during the spring.

Outside of sports, Hanley really enjoys taking art classes at La Salle. “This is my third year taking a full year of art class [and] I do summer school just to be able to take art,” she said. 

With school being a huge time commitment, Hanley uses sports as a time to decompress and take a break from school responsibilities. “[When] I go to practice I kind of use it as my social time and unwinding time because it can help me relax a lot,” she said.