Athlete profile: Emilie and Katri Gilbert ’13 talk cross country, basketball

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For junior cross country runners Emilie and Katri Gilbert, the shift from fall to winter sports seasons means running in two different directions: one onto the court and one into the stands. As both sisters are finishing their 2011 cross country season and Emilie continues to prepare for the varsity basketball season, The Pioneer asked them about what this transition means to them as sisters and as athletes.

Credit: David Jacobson

The Pioneer: Do you train together or on your own in the fall?

Emilie: During [the cross country] season we have easy run days, and you can come in at 4 or you can do it on your own time based around your schedule. So a lot of times we just run in the mornings together. It’s a huge advantage we have . . . and our teammates hate us for having a buddy to run with.

Katri: It makes it so much easier to run.

E: Yeah, and we’re mature beyond the point of making every run a competition, so it’s not like that. In the winter . . . we’ll run together at home during winter break, and that’s good because after you stop running regularly it becomes a little bit harder. So she’s a good gauge for me: like, I have to stay with her.

 

P: How do you continue to support each other with one of you in the off-season during the winter?

K: I attend all the basketball games I can, and:

E: And that follows with a post game chat where I get a review about how the team performed and how I performed.

K: (Laughs) Oh, yeah. Well . . . it’s funny to see everything because I know what’s going on and it’s easy to see the things they do well and the things they can improve on.

E: ‘You should have used your backside help in the second half. You have to get your hand in the passing lane more. Na-na-na-na-na.’

K:  (Laughs) Yeah, stuff like that. Then over winter break even, I’ll travel with my parents to watch her games. It’s fun. I like watching.

 

P:  Does it help to have Katri there to keep you going?

E:  Yeah, we’re a team.

K:  We’ll run together and sometimes [freshman year] I would go help her shoot.

 

P:  Do you still help her shoot?

K:  It’s really hard because I miss it . . . but since I decided I was going to double major with music, I don’t want to risk injury. With violin it’s very finger-technical, and, I mean, my right hand is already jammed up from basketball, and I don’t want to risk [injury], especially playing one on one.

E:  And there’ll be time for it eventually.

K:  Yeah, there’ll be time for that later. Especially this winter with recitals, I need to focus on that and make sure I don’t have any injuries.

 

P: How do you balance life outside of sports with your athletic involvement?

K: I try to make sure that when I’m doing something I’m really putting my best effort into it and not worrying about what I have to do afterwards. I might shower quickly and go to orchestra and focus through that. It doesn’t leave a lot of downtime, but . . . it’s really fun: I enjoy it because everything I do is really different.

E: People think it’s crazy that I’ll go run a workout with the cross-country team and then go play an open gym for an hour and a half but that’s something we’ve always done, just going from one thing to the next. Even starting in middle school, we had soccer practice . . . then basketball practice, [and then] we would go play more basketball with friends after that: so that’s three practices and then homework. It seems really normal for me, and I just think of it as a reset button. The hardest part is afterward. By the time you’ve showered and eaten you really don’t want to do homework, but a lot of times: I’m and Econ-Math major, so if I have [homework] I can say, ‘Okay, let’s get these six problems done and then I can do something else’.

 

P: How does that carry over when you transition from one season training together to off-season or winter season?

K: Since I don’t play basketball anymore I mostly just keep running. I take a week or so off [but] in terms of the actual time spent running, it doesn’t change that much. During season it’s all about juggling all these different things and after season, you have all this free time to get stuff done . . . I put more time into other things, like my music, so everything balances out in the end.

E: For me, it’s been different every season. In high school, cross country ended on Saturday with the state meet and basketball began on Monday, so that was never an overlap, which was great. Here it’s a huge overlap because basketball starts mid-October and the conference race is the last weekend in October. My freshman year I was the sixth  runner for our team and we were looking to make nationals, so our coach said I was not allowed to practice or play at open gyms at all. So I would just go and watch. This season, with our national ranking being third  in the region and second in the conference, we’re looking to knock off Lewis & Clark at the regional race, which is the first weekend in November, to make it to nationals as a team. So we’ve decided: both Michelle Ferenz and Scott Shields: that I should not participate in contact during practice. But it’s better this year because I know [how Whitman basketball works] so I’ll be able to jump in with a much better transition than I did my freshman year when I didn’t know anything.