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‘I debated if it was worth all the hard work’: Student-athlete left unrecognized after fourth-place finish

Emily Malouf, a senior sociology major and public health minor, practices discus throw by herself in preparation for her next meet in December, taken Oct. 4 on Dumke Field. Even without receiving recognition, Malouf said she is still very grateful for what the university has given her with life-long friends and impactful coaches. Photo courtesy of Cole Kadoguchi. Photo description: Emily Malouf practices on the Dumke Field on green grass with blue skies in the background.

Working to compete in a national championship takes an immense amount of dedication, sacrifice and hard work to accomplish. But all that time invested towards getting to the highest level in a competition can still go unrecognized, according to Emily Malouf.

Emily Malouf, a senior sociology major and public health minor, said that there was a lot more work done than people realized, after placing fourth in women’s discus at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II track and field national championship. 

“After getting fourth at nationals, it definitely felt like [hard work] went unrecognized and it was hard,” Malouf said. “I feel like track is a sport where it’s hard to appreciate it until you do it.” 

Malouf said she was sad about the lack of recognition from Westminster because she felt like she and her other teammates helped make a good name for the university. Malouf said her mother needed to give words of encouragement to help revive her joy for track. 

“I debated if it was worth all the hard work, coming back and everything staying the same as if nothing happened,” Malouf said. “My mom told me if I truly loved the sport, then the unrecognition shouldn’t impact me because I’ve already accomplished this for myself, so that was very beneficial to hear.”

Even with Malouf not gaining as much traction as she thought she deserved, she said she is grateful for the coaches who helped her grow into the athlete she is today. 

“I’ve had the great opportunity to work with Dan John,” Malouf said. “He is a big reason why I’m at the level I am today […]. I’m trained by one of the best throwing coaches in the world.”

Dan John, volunteer throwing coach for the Westminster track and field team, said Malouf is a diligent worker, one that any coach would want to work with. 

“It’s like buy low, sell high,” John said. “She’s always early, always asks for extra work, so I realized how amazing she is and what an honor it has been to coach her.”

John said he hopes Malouf continues to pursue discus throwing because she can become very good. He said no matter what she decides to do, he knows she will be successful because of her continuous positive mindset. 

Addie Gardner, a senior international business major, said Malouf has been one of her best friends since being at Westminster. No matter how negative a situation is, Malouf will always be the kind-hearted person she is and make people around her feel heard and loved, according to Gardner.

“Emily is genuinely the biggest ball of sunshine,” Gardner said. “She is the most determined and hardworking, yet selfless and humble person […]. She’s someone that you can always count on.”

Bridget Conkling, a senior psychology major, said similarly, “Emily truly has the brightest personality I have ever met.” 

Even without getting recognition, Malouf said she is maintaining a positive attitude and is grateful that going to university has given her lifelong friends and impactful coaches. 

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Cole Kadoguchi studies communication and psychology, hoping to be a sports psychologist. He plays shooting guard for the basketball team and loves getting to know new people around campus. He’s a music fanatic of the reggae/rap genre who enjoys spending time with friends and family when he gets a break from athletic events.

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