Noone’s commitment to program becomes defining characteristic on team

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(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

At the conclusion of last season, Emily Noone knew she would return to Marquette this fall for graduate school. What she didn’t know was whether or not she’d be able to continue running for the Marquette women’s cross-country team.

“I was always planning on coming back for another year, it was just not maybe having eligibility,” Noone said. “I was thinking best case scenario, I could be a manager on the team that extra year. But because of COVID and everything, the silver lining of it was having a full year of eligibility.”

Noone will be graduating in May 2023 with a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Senior runner Anna Penzkover said cross country skills are valuable for Noone beyond the race course.

“We’re here (at Marquette) for being a student first and an athlete second. She shows that you can carry everything you learn in cross country throughout a professional career too,” Penzkover said. “She’s so committed to running, but you can definitely tell she’s committed to her future.”

Penzkover said Noone’s commitment is the defining characteristic of her legacy within this team. 

“She’s the most committed person to Marquette cross country and track and field that I’ve met,” Penzkover said. “She showed that by coming back for a fifth year, being a leader on our team and continuing to show commitment. She didn’t just return for cross country, she’s going to do indoor [track] and outdoor [track] too.”

It’s Noone’s track experience that she said sets her apart from other cross-country runners.

“I try to keep a positive mindset and at heart, I’m a mid-distance runner,” Noone said. “I am able to power up these hills. Some of these distance girls maybe aren’t as strong as me.” 

Head Coach Sean Birren said one of Noone’s defining career moments came last year in California when she won her heat of the 1500-meter race.

“It’s a video that I actually pull up pretty often to just be reminded as to how exciting it is,” Birren said. “I get emotional just thinking about it. You go all that way (to California) and sometimes the race doesn’t go the way you want it to, but to have it go really well and be excited about what the rest of the season holds is fun.”

Noone said racing in big meets has helped her improve her mindset on the course.

“I’m not as nervous for meets now. It’s just another day and it’s a lot more fun not being nervous about things,” Noone said. “I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna show up, crush it and go home.’” 

Penzkover said Noone’s attitude and mindset heading into important races is one thing she has learned from her. 

“Watching her competing in larger meets that I haven’t had the opportunity yet to compete in, has given me the confidence that I can get there,” Penzkover said. “She’s leading me through races and helping keep us like in that mindset that we are good enough to compete at that level.”

Birren said Noone has taken the unrestricted access policy for captains and ran with it to better lead her team. 

“It’s an open door policy to be able to say, ‘Okay, this is our advice.’ Doing it would be to ask ‘Hey, how’s everybody doing?’ And they really take it seriously,” Birren said. “She stepped up in big ways again, to be a servant leader and looking out for her team.”

Penzkover said Noone has always been a leader on the team with her organizational skills.

“She helps organize all of all kinds of different team events, on meet days she’s telling us what jerseys we’re gonna wear, she’s telling us what time the bus is leaving, all kinds of stuff like that,” Penzkover said. “In that way, she’s always been a great leader for our team.”

Despite the track season being less than a month away, Noone said she remains focused on NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Friday in Terre Haute, Indiana. 

“I’m still in the cross-country mindset. I really haven’t been thinking about track because that’s not gonna be helping me right now,” Noone said. “I’m definitely locked in for regionals. After that, we can move forward.”

This story was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] and on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.