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Meet the Utes: Emily Venters

Nov 15, 2021

By: Yara Ahmed

Next up in our Meet the Utes segment is Emily Venters, who has made a splash in her first year as a runner for the Utah Cross Country team.

Growing up in Lawrence, Kan., the Sunflower State native first found her knack for running in elementary school. "I knew I was going to be good at running because I would do the Pacer Test and I would run until the last guy was still going before passing him by one more lap. I would be so exhausted and overheated. I'd have to go to the nurse's and get an ice pack. But, my endurance was just so good and it showed I was going to be a good endurance athlete."
Venters started out her collegiate career at Boise State, but eventually transferred to Colorado to finish out her undergraduate degree. She ultimately decided to keep running while completing graduate school at the University of Utah. "My boyfriend's dad was a large part of the reason I came to Utah. I asked him what school he would send his daughter to if he could do it over again, knowing what I've gone through in my years of running in college, being injured and just not feeling supported. I wanted to make sure that I was going somewhere I felt the coaches really cared about me as a person outside running. He said hands down he would send his daughter to Utah. I said, okay, I guess I'm going to go there. I talked to the coaches and met some of the girls. I just felt like it was going to be a place where I was going to be loved not only a runner, but as a person, and where I felt like I could contribute to the team and help them grow and be something special. It's turning out to be exactly what I thought it was. It's just amazing here."
Venters was able to clinch third and assist her team in taking second at the 2021 Pac-12 Cross Country Championship, accomplishing exactly what she had set out to do and achieving it right alongside her teammates. "The team aspect of cross country is my favorite, because I love track, but there's nothing like lining up next to your teammates and seeing your team score, not just your individual place. It gives you something that's bigger than yourself to run for and focus on."
Despite not having the smoothest journey, Venters was able to do anything she set her mind to. "I'm mostly internally motivated. I am very, very driven. While I was injured at Colorado, I had a lot of people telling me that I probably would never get back to racing and running again, but I knew that I was going to get back there. I could have easily decided to quit running and listen to them but there was always a voice inside me that knew I was going to come out of it. I think ever since I was a little kid I've always been super motivated, competitive and driven by myself. Honestly, I don't really feel like I need anyone else to motivate me. I'm just internally motivated."
Venters and the 14th-ranked Utes will compete at the NCAA Championships this Saturday, Nov. 20, at Apalachee Regional Park. The women's 6k race is schedule to begin at 8:20 a.m. (MT) while live coverage of the race begins at 8 a.m. on ESPNU.
More about Emily Venters
 Q: Where are you from?
A: Lawrence, KS
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Teal blue
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: One dog back at home with my parents…her name is Maddie!
Q: What is your favorite TV show?
A: Bachelor in Paradise, Shark Tank & Gilmore Girls (all very different, but ones I put on when I occasionally watch TV)
Q: What is your favorite drink?
A: Smoothies!
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Thai curry
Q: What song do you listen to before a race?
A: I can't say or I'll jinx it!
Q: What word best describes you?
A: Driven
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (for class)
Q: What do you wish you knew more about?
A: I wish I could speak another language
Q: What would be your ultimate vacation?
A: Going back to Hawaii and exploring all of the islands for a few months! I'd also love to travel to Spain!
Q: What is your favorite thing about the University of Utah?
A: The people! Everyone here is always there to help one another succeed in all aspects of life, not just running!
Q: Who is your favorite musician?
A: Dua Lipa
Q: What is your dream car?
A: I think if Tesla would come out with a small SUV size car that would be what I would want!
Q: What would be your dream job?
A: I mean being a professional runner wouldn't suck! I have also always wanted to become a nurse anesthetist though, so I'm planning to continue down that path after grad school!