Jumping for joy

Photo courtesy of Tom Connelly.

Emely Ramirez excels on and off the field 

Senior Emely Ramirez is the epitome of a student athlete. She makes leaps and bounds of achievements not only on the track, but in her academics and service to others.

Ramirez is an Interdisciplinary Health Services (IHS) major with a minor in health care ethics. After graduation, she plans to take a year off before going to law school. This past year, Ramirez was an intern for the Philadelphia DA where she gained a strong interest in health care law and reform.

“We need to help these kids instead of throwing them into jails,” Ramirez said. “We need to create programs.”

At age 16, her mother and father moved from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Ramirez grew up in a rural town of  Buena, New Jersey, with her mom, step-dad and older brother learning both English and Spanish. Her mother arranged her work hours so that she was able to drive her daughter to various activities and sports. In Ramirez’s free time, she played with her brother and his friends. She considered herself a tomboy, always covered in bruises and scratches. This toughness transferred into her gym class where she was noticed by her middle school gym coach for her talent.

One year in middle school, Emely jumped exceptionally far for the presidential fitness test. Her teacher was impressed and encouraged her to join the track team. Due to her commitment to field hockey and other activities, Ramirez rejected the opportunity.

When she entered high school, he contacted the high school track coach who then recruited Ramirez. Ramirez agreed and joined the team mainly for high jump, but later began sprinting as well. Track was enjoyable for Ramirez, as she pushed herself and travelled with her friends. She ran varsity all four years of high school and by her junior year, she was the all-American for shuttle hurdles.

At Saint Joseph’s University, Ramirez has had a very successful track career over the years in the high jump, hurdles and relays. Now into her senior year, she has continued to improve. In the indoor season, Ramirez jumped her best yet, at a mark of 1.70 meter. She placed third at the Atlantic 10  Conference and 11th at the ECAC Championship.

The outdoor season began two weeks ago at the Colonial Relays. Ramirez contributed to her team by placing seventh in the high jump. At the Rider Invitational on April 8, Ramirez placed fourth in the 4×800 meter relay with three teammates.

Ramirez hopes to place third or better at the outdoor A-10 championship, or to set a new personal record in the high jump. Though she is tough on herself, Ramirez is supportive of all her teammates and friends.

“It’s very fitting that she’s a captain this year,” said junior teammate Ashley Gerald. “She leads by example. We all need to make sacrifices for our sport, but there’s a way to do it and do it smart, and Emely does it smart.”

Gerald “met” Emely in high school through racing against each other as rivals in the 4×400 meter relay. It was not until their first practice at St. Joe’s that they formally met.

“I just remember thinking ‘Uh…I’m teammates now with one of the Buena girls? You can’t be serious,’” Gerald said.   “One of the great ironies of sports is how often rivals turn into friends.”

Now together on the team, Gerald describes Ramirez as a loyal, empathetic friend who is someone she considers as one of the hardest working and most intelligent people she knows. Others her age are inspired as well by her versatility.

“This girl is on another level,” said senior Deepa Patel. “She really has her life together. She’s on a sports team at a D-I school and has managed to complete her athletic obligations while excelling in her major and minors and has held multiple internships, with time to hang out with her friends.”

Though busy with track and friends, school has always been a top priority for Ramirez. She manages her time well and realizes the importance of dedication to her work. She describes herself as always having a book or laptop tucked under her arm.

Her work ethic is noted as she has been recognized to St. Joe’s Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for all three years and  was recognized at the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for her sophomore and senior year.

One thing is for certain, no matter what Ramirez does in life, she has the capacity to succeed.

About the author

Danielle Ciampoli

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