East Coast/West Coast Rap Battles with Emily Infeld
The 11-time All American has snuck from east to west for Kara, Shalane, and OTC Portland
by The Trailer
PORTLAND, Ore. – Emily Infeld, born in 1990, is too young to remember the East Coast/West Coast hip hop rivalry in the mid-‘90s—which makes word associations that much more fun.
Notorious B.I.G.: “Rapper,” she says.
Puff Daddy: “A big, white, puffy coat,” Infeld says, adding, “I’m going to be terrible at this game.”
Bad Boy Records: “Is that Eminem? No, that’s Jay-Z. Is that Jay-Z?”
It may not exactly be fair to associate the 22-year-old Georgetown alum with either coast, hip hop or otherwise—she was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. But after the last four years, during which she led the Hoyas to their first-ever NCAA Cross Country Championship in 2011 (and her own individual title in the 3000m indoors in 2012), Infeld has embodied the east so completely that you forget where she’s from.
After her eighth-place finish in the 2012 Olympic Team Trials 5,000m, Infeld had planned on returning to campus in the fall. She had a season of indoors and outdoors remaining under women’s cross country coach Chris Miltenberg, and she’d been accepted for a grad program in Sports Industry Management.
Then Miltenberg moved.
The news came on August 27th. Miltenberg announced his acceptance of the position of Director of Track and Field at Stanford University. Georgetown announced they would begin a national search immediately. And with her coach’s move, Emily Infeld considered making her own announcement.
“I don’t think I was as interested in [Sports Industry Management]; it was more so the means for me to be running there,” she says. “And I know that sounds terrible to say, but I think my heart just wasn’t really in it.”
Miltenberg’s announcement was to Infeld’s resolve—already shaky—the final nail in the coffin.
“In order to take that next big leap I had to change and go find something else,” she says.
The seed of Infeld’s final destination had already been planted in June by Jerry Schumacher, coach of Oregon Track Club Portland. Schumacher was already coaching a Georgetown grad, 13:16.26 5,000m runner Andrew “Bumby” Bumbalough, who joined in 2010, and through that connection Schumacher and Miltenberg had been communicating throughout the last year.
With parents, little sister, and coach Miltenberg, Infeld sat down with Schumacher in Eugene during the Trials in June the day after her 5,000m result, a PR 15:28.60.
“I was just super-excited that he wanted to meet with me,” Infeld says. “He’s obviously such a well-renown coach and has had so much success. I felt really honored.”
At the time Infeld was still committed to returning to Georgetown in the fall—Miltenberg had not yet been hired by Stanford, and her grad picture was already on the website—so Schumacher tap-danced gracefully: he knew she had collegiate eligibility; he invited her out for a visit; he said he’d love to coach her whenever she was ready.
When Miltenberg left for California at the end of the summer, Infeld decided she’d take Schumacher up on his offer.
Infeld’s visit was in the last weekend of September. She stayed at a hotel near the downtown; she walked around, taking in the feel. Flanagan would pick her up every morning, and with Goucher the pair of Olympians showed Infeld the trails and gave her a tour of the Nike campus. (“I’m used to having minimal-everything—we shared a locker room with four other teams. Compared to Georgetown I was in awe,” Infeld says.)
“It was crazy to see how these elite runners are so normal, and they’re so nice and welcoming and enthusiastic, and just awesome people in general,” Infeld says. “They wanted me to make sure I was making the best decision for me. They were looking out for me and wanting to see that I was doing what would make me happy.”
While she took the next 10 days to make her decision, visiting Eugene and Colorado Springs, Infeld says her heart was already set. She returned to D.C. and started to pack: “I knew at that point that I wouldn’t be going back to Georgetown.”
Infeld has been in Portland with the OTC for just over three weeks, and she’s still as confident that the move was the best thing she could have done.
“If I want to make a big leap and be great, I think that I need to be one hundred percent committed—which I wasn’t in college,” she says. “I think I’m ready at this point. I don’t want to do anything else.”
Emily Infeld’s fill-in-the-blanks:
- The West Coast is: “the best coast.”
- The East Coast is: “J.Crew.”
- Ohio is: “the farm. And terrible sports.”