A senior at Olympia High School heading to Clemson University this summer on a scholarship for cross country and track, Emily Headley is having quite the stretch to end her days as a high school student. After getting the okay from her coaching staff at Clemson, Headley was able to play lacrosse for the Titans this past spring and was a part of the team’s run to the state semifinals, where she scored a game-high six goals to pair with two assists.
In recent weeks, Headley has received scholarships through Bright House Sports Network and the Orlando Runners Club, been named to the All-Metro Conference Girls Lacrosse Team and was also named Olympia’s Female Athlete of the Year. She is finishing up her last semester with several Advanced Placement course exams, helps anchor the schools morning announcements broadcast and, along with some classmates, had a two-minute short film they made win first place for comedy at the Orange County Student Media Festival recently.
How grateful are you to the coaching staff at Clemson for giving the ‘OK’ to your playing lacrosse this spring?
That was, I told my parents this every single day, actually the greatest thing of high school so far. And there’s been a lot of highlights in high school. Choosing to play lacrosse this season and having my coaches (at Clemson) support me 100% — and also my parents — was just one of the greatest things ever. I had so much fun.
What are you doing currently, training-wise, for cross country?
This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and I went on a run and then I went to school at 6:30 a.m. I’m running before school every day, because it is way too hot after school. After school, I’m going to the gym and lifting and stuff.
Looking back at your varsity sports career, what is your most significant accomplishment?
Definitely one that I can’t overlook is, my freshman year, coming in second in the state (in cross-country). That was the highest state performance that I had. But I would say it’s not all about placing — I definitely would say it’s a tie between (placing second at state) and also (lacrosse reaching the state semifinals). I know fourth (in the state) isn’t as high as second, but something about the whole team atmosphere … was so awesome.
You keep a busy schedule among sports, classes and extracurricular activities. Do you enjoy being busy like that?
When lacrosse ended, the weekend of the state tournament, I kind of told myself, “You know what, I’m going to relax and chill for a little bit.” It was horrible; it was absolutely awful. I don’t like having time. I like having things to do at every single moment of my life. It’s my OCD, and also I just love being busy and having things to do.
What was it about Clemson that set that school and program apart from the other schools who were courting you?
It had that “it” factor that no other school had. It’s kind of hard to explain.
How important has the support of your mom and your dad been to your success?
They’re crazy — they’re definitely the reason I’m here right now and why any of this is even possible. … My mom really keeps me on track and keeps me focused, and my dad is the one who always tells me that “the impossible is possible.” My mom is more academic, my dad is more athletic, and they both, together, form this perfect motivation to do all that I can do and be all that I can be.
You’ve chosen to major in engineering at Clemson, but you also have an interest in film and broadcast journalism. Are you going to try and pursue either of those things, also?
Clemson has not only one of the best engineering programs for a public school, but it also has a great sports reporting department. I obviously love sports and also reporting, so I definitely want to major in engineering and have a minor in either communications or sports reporting.
Why do you think you’ve gravitated toward studying engineering?
Math is one of the most enjoyable things in my life. When I run, I do derivatives in my head and divide out what percentage of the race or the workout I have left. I love doing math when I run. … It just seems like engineering would be good for me.
What’s been the best senior-year moment so far?
Going to our regional final lacrosse game the day before prom, winning that and being absolutely so excited. Then waking up the next morning, having (lacrosse) practice, going straight from practice to a four-hour calculus review, going straight from there to the nail salon and then straight to prom itself — those 30 hours were just absolutely great.