Emter's Game: Park High senior Lauren Emter on pace for another individual state title
For no particular reason, the Park High 6’0” senior taps the toe-bar, or stop board, as she enters the concrete circle. She nestles an 8-pound metal ball against her neck and slowly paces to the rear of the throwing area. After finding a focal point somewhere on the horizon, she executes two and a half spins and lets the ball fly.
This is Lauren Emter’s shot put routine and it has landed her at the top of Montana’s track and field charts after throwing for 40-feet and two-inches at the Billings Invitational on Thursday, April 13 at Billing West High School. Lauren’s well-rehearsed routine has also put her on course to win a state title in a throwing event for the second time in her high school career as a Ranger.
As a sophomore, Lauren stormed through the Central divisional tournament, taking first place in the shot put at 35-5, and in the discus she threw for a season high of 129-feet and seven inches, more than 20-feet farther than runner-up Jamie Woolman of Belgrade (108-11). Remarkably, Lauren went on to win the girls discus at the Class A state tournament after throwing a shorter distance, taking the individual title at 129-02.
This year, Park High’s multi-sport athlete who also plays basketball for the Lady Rangers, is back in the hunt for state supremacy after placing third in the discus at 116-06 at the Billings Invite. Just a week earlier, Lauren won both the shot put (38-5) and the discus (128-5) at the West High Quad on April 6.
Surrounded by supportive network of family and friends, Lauren said her older brother, Chris Emter, inspired her to join the track team during her freshman year, teaching her almost everything she knows. Chris, a high school state champion in both the shot put and the discus, plays football and continues to compete in field events at Carroll College.
“My freshman year I wasn’t going to do track but it was Chris’ senior year and I wanted to be with him,” Lauren said. “After I joined, I loved it and stuck with it.”
Lauren has received scholarship offers at both Southern Utah and Carroll but said she hasn’t decided whether she wants to join her brother in Helena.
Samantha Carter-Emter, Lauren’s younger cousin, is currently on the track team and has been moving up the state rankings in throwing events for the Rangers. Following the 2017 season, Samantha plans to graduate early and enlist in the armed services next year.
“I’m so excited for her to see what she has in store for the future,” Lauren said. “We’ve been helping each other and she has been a huge help in my development.”
One of Lauren’s final goals as a prep athlete is to beat the Park High School shot put record of 41-7 set by Ranger alumna Cynda Todd in 1990, a goal that seems more and more attainable with each passing invitational.
Of course, she also wants to bring home a couple more state championships before she graduates, admitting she’s got some tough competition, namely Huntley Project’s Hailey Poole, who won both the javelin and discus at the recent Billings Invite.
But Lauren takes care of her side of the street and continues to fine tune her game, working under the direction of first-year Park coach and former Olympian, Art Burns.
Burns tossed for fifth place in the men’s discus event at the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics and has since joined Park head coach Scott Evje to pass the torch on to the youth in Livingston.
“Burns has different methods and has opened my eyes to different ways of doing things,” Lauren said. “My technique sometimes is really screwed up and he always has good things to say to help me with that.”
As she walks across the field towards her white pickup truck, a chocolate Labrador Retriever named “Moose” watches Lauren intently as she approaches the parking lot.
Moose is generally a silent observer during her occasional weekend practices, Lauren said.
“Fortunately, Moose doesn’t chase after the ball,” Lauren said. “He knows better than that but he’s done it once or twice.”