Kimball girl has had a lot of success in prep athletics career

Kimball girl has had a lot of success in prep athletics career

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Kimball girl has had a lot of success in prep athletics career

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KIMBALL

Emily Donnay has overcome a few hurdles to get to this spot in her athletic career.

The multi-sport athlete from Kimball had health issues late in her sophomore year, made a last-minute change to her fall sports plans and is participating in a sport that’s foreign to her.

Tuesday, she won the Central Minnesota Conference championship with a time of 15 minutes, 56.05 seconds.

“I guess I didn’t expect to be doing this well,” said the junior Donnay, who is ranked 10th in Class A by mntrackxc.com. “It’s kind of surprising.”

Next up is the Section 6A Meet on Thursday in Long Prairie, where she’ll try to qualify for the state meet.

As a rookie taking the whole process one race at a time, Donnay was focused on the CMC Meet and state later.

Donnay won the Little Crow Invitational (15:01) and the Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball Invitational (16:36) in September.

She took second in on Oct. 8 in Albany with a time of 15:59.9.

Donnay has raced nine times this fall and the one race she finished outside the top four was at Litchfield, where she took 13th with a 16:32.10 against competition from the larger Wright County Conference schools.

“She had neer run a cross country meet before and she took second in the first meet,” said EV-W/K coach Holly Hansen.

Added Hansen: “Afterwards, she said she wasn’t even tired. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do.

“That’s when you know you have some serious raw talent.”

Donnay’s winter sport is basketball, but complications with her liver interrupted the end of her sophomore season.

She said she wasn’t running her best for Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball’s track and field team as her recovery carried into spring.

“It started at the end of basketball. I was in track but I didn’t do very good,” Donnay said.

“I’m better and back to normal.”

Hansen had no intentions to have Donnay on the roster as recent as August when fall sports practices began.

Donnay, a volleyball player since seventh grade, found out in the first week of volleyball practice that she wasn’t going to see much playing time on varsity.

“It was hard to quit volleyball and I still miss it,” Donnay said.

“I’m glad I gave cross country a try because, otherwise, I’d just be sitting all season on the volleyball team.”

Donnay said she had run well during the summer at a five-kilometer race in Kimball, after which EV-W/K assistant cross country coach Terry Nelson approached her.

“(Nelson) said he thought I’d be good at cross country but I wasn’t going to go out for it until I went to volleyball practice and I was put where I was put,” Donnay said.

“I thought it was time for a change.”

Added Hansen: “Some of our varisty runners had run it and she finished a little bit ahead of them. (Nelson) talked to her afterwards and she decided to try it.”

Donnay may clear another hurdle as springtime rolls around, or, actually replace the hurdles with distance running.

She has participated in hurdles and other short-distance races for the EV-W/K track, but she may have discovered something she likes more in distance running.

“I talked to the track coach and I think I’m going to start running the 800,” Donnay said. “Compared to track, if you get behind in the 300 or 400, there’s no way you can catch up.

“In distance running, you can’t get too far behind, but it’s a long race.”

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