Learning curve – Emily Helms has successful freshman year at OSU


By Kyle Salomon

The freshman experience can be a roller-coaster ride for first-year college students, even for eight-time state champion Emily Helms.

Helms graduated from Mustang High School in 2013 as the most decorated athlete in the history of Bronco sports. The cross country and track star won eight individual state championships and signed to run cross country and track at Oklahoma State University.

Helms said her first year went well for the most part once she got used to the training regiment of college sports.

“The biggest challenge was dealing with the time management,” she said. “Everything is up to you. You decide when and how much you need to study for your tests, you decide when you do your homework, when you eat, sleep and do your laundry.”

Helms red-shirted as a freshman this past year, but she said she used that time to her advantage.

“I was able to get used to the new training schedule,” she said. “I went from running 40 miles every week in high school to around 60 miles every week in college. I got to run during the winter indoor season. I would say I had an average year, but the most important thing as a freshman is to stay consistent.”

This summer, Helms has been prepping for a bigger role on the cross country team this fall for the Cowgirls squad. The former Lady Bronco said she has been training hard for the cross country season by bumping up her mileage as the summer progresses.

“It’s important to stay injury-free while you’re training,” she said. “I went to the USA junior track meet and competed and then I took a short break. I started training again this week and will continue for the remainder of the summer.”

The USA junior track meet takes place in Eugene, Ore., for high school runners and college freshmen. Helms said it was good for her to get some experience and compete.

“The meet is only for people 19 and under so the older, more experienced college runners can’t compete in the event. It helps a lot mentally going against runners that are more your speed.”

One thing college is always good for is showing someone their strengths and their weaknesses. Helms said she knows what she needs to improve on before she heads back to Stillwater in August.

“Mentally is where I need to make the biggest improvement,” she said. “I need to learn to stay more positive and develop more confidence. I need to become mentally stronger. I believe with more experience I can get to where I need to be.”

When asked to compare high school to college in one word, the word Helms chose to use after several seconds of thought was “freedom.”