Rio Grande inks Chesapeake’s Duncan

Published 1:05 am Friday, April 21, 2023

Chesapeake senior track standout Emily Duncan signed a letter-of-intent on Tuesday to run for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, mother Kris Duncan, Emily and father KevinDuncan; Standing left to right, Nana Jean Gibson, sister Kayla Duncan, aunt Billie Ransbottom and uncle Todd Ransbottom. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

CHESAPEAKE — A little of this, a little of that. A pinch of this, a pinch of that. Mix it all together and you get…Emily Duncan.

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The versatility of Emily Duncan in track proved to be that drawing card for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm as they signed the Chesapeake Lady Panthers senior standout to a letter-of-intent to run track next fall.

Chesapeake’s Emily Duncan

Duncan’s best events are the high jump and the long jump but she said “my favorite is high jump for sure.”

Duncan has already cleared 5-foot in the early season. She said last season “I kind of had a struggle a little bit mentally, but I’m hoping to do a lot better this year.”

The Chesapeake school record in the long jump is 16-feet, 8 and a quarter inches.

“I want to get back to jumping 5-foot-5 and try to take it higher and break the long jump record and get at least 17 feet,” said Duncan. “Down the road, maybe getting 5-6, 5-7, graduating and getting my nursing degree.”

Blessed with speed, Duncan also runs the 100-meter dash and runs a leg on the 4×100 meter relay team.

“They really haven’t given me a ‘for sure’ answer as to what they want me to do, but I’m up for whatever,” said Duncan.

Duncan played basketball since second grade but didn’t play basketball this past season to focus her attention on track.

“Track is my favorite,” said Duncan who has ran track since the seventh grade.

“Track, I just don’t know how to explain it. I love it. I love it. I love that it’s a big social event,I love that it’s individualized but you’re still part of a team,” said Duncan. “If I don’t do well in the high jump, it’s not on my team. It’s on me.”

Duncan said that meeting and talking with Rio Grande coach Bob Willey helped make her feel more comfortable about her decision.

“(Coach Willey) is a great person. He has a great personality. I’m excited to get to work with him,” said Duncan.

Willey said Duncan’s versatility caught his coaching staff’s attention right away and sent them knocking at her door.

“She’s an outstanding athlete and not only will we be able to use her in the high jump — that’s her specialty — we can move her around. I know coach (Glen) Queen is already talking about making her a multi-athlete,” said Willey.

“But she’s very athletic and she’ll fit into a lot of different places. With her high jump, her long jump, her sprinting ability she’ll be able to fill a lot of different holes for us.”

Duncan said she looked at Marshall but she wasn’t interested in any other programs except Rio Grande.

“At Marshall, you had to go the full four years and they didn’t have a bridge program and Rio was just a better fit for me,” said Duncan who plans to do the nursing bridge program from LPN to RN.