By Chris Chaney
New Richmond cross country and track standout Emily Erdman signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Lindenwood University-Belleville in Belleville, Ill.
“I’m really excited,” Erdman said. “Cross country has always been something that I love to do. I was a little unsure if I wanted to compete in college, but when (Coach Tammy Accola-Newell) contacted me, she really believed in me and made me excited for the opportunity.”
Erdman put her times and other information on an online recruiting site and her abilities caught the eye of Accola-Newell at Lindenwood-Belleville. Having received other inquiries from other coaches, Erdman said that the email from Accola-Newell stood out because of the possibility of a scholarship.
Accola-Newell said that after seeing the consistency in Erdman’s times, she contacted her to talk in an effort to gauge her personality and goals to see how they mesh with the team.
“She’s a strong runner,” Accola-Newell said. “I think she’ll be very successful on our team.”
Following the initial contact, Erdman and her family arranged a visit to Belleville, which is located near St. Louis, Mo.
“I gave (Accola-Newell) a call to set up a visit and made the six-hour drive to Illinois,” Erdman explained. “I fell in love with the campus and even got to meet some of the team. I felt comfortable with the team and with the coach and I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Erdman has built a solid résumé throughout her time at New Richmond, even going back to her middle school days. She has been running cross country for six years and was an All-City selection in eighth grade. She also competed in the state meet while in middle school.
During her time at NRHS, Erdman ran both cross country and track, specializing in distance running. As a track athlete, Erdman qualified for the regional meet along with the rest of her 4×800-meter relay team as a freshman. For her efforts, she was named the Most Valuable Distance Runner that season.
More recently, Erdman helped her team to a Southern Buckeye Conference American Division title as well as the OHSAA Division II Southwest District crown as a senior. She’s been named to the First Team All-SBC twice and the Second Team once during her time as a Lady Lion.
“She’s been a good runner for me,” New Richmond cross country head coach Rylan Shebesta said. “As a freshman, she was one of our top runners and ran in the low 21s. She’s really dedicated. She had some injury issues her sophomore and junior years, so to come back her senior year and have the season she did to get a scholarship is great.
“Without her, we wouldn’t have won the district title. She came up pretty big holding off another runner from Indian Hill and we only won by one point, so she was definitely really important in that run.”
Erdman’s family is extremely proud of her as well and plans to make the drive to Illinois to see her run whenever they can.
“We are so excited for her to go to Lindenwood and run for their cross country team,” Erdman’s mother, Tracy, said. “They’ve given her such an opportunity to work towards her career and still get to enjoy her passion of running.”
Erdman is planning to double major in web design and marketing with the hopes of building websites for businesses after college and one day starting her own business.
Next fall, Erdman will join with her new team as they embark on a new challenge of their own, joining the American Midwest Conference of the NAIA.
“Going into the new conference, it will be a bit of an eye-opener for the girls that are returning and I think it’s going to be very exciting for the girls coming in,” Accola-Newell said. “I think that we’re going to place very well. We have four girls returning and then the rest are incoming freshman, so we’re going to have a young team, but I believe it’s going to be a very strong team. I really look forward to this season.”
Erdman will definitely be a key component to the Lynx’s success going forward, both in the classroom, where she maintained an honor roll-level grade point average throughout high school, and on the track where she is able to indulge in her passion.
“I just hope to make a lot of new friends and I’m going to work really hard,” Erdman said. “I hope that this can make me a better runner and help me with my classes, too. I hope to help the team get really far and ranked well.”