by Vanessa Saltos
Torn between two worlds, junior dual-sport athlete Emilia Long came to Cal Poly Humboldt and was able to have her cake and eat it too. Long is from Port Angeles, Washington and has been playing basketball and soccer since she was around 6 years old. She was introduced to the two sports through her older siblings.
“My older siblings also played soccer and basketball, and I kind of just followed in their footsteps,” Long said.
Before committing to Cal Poly Humboldt, she played at Peninsula College, a junior college in her hometown. During her time at Peninsula, her team won the Northwest Athletic Conference Championships for soccer and she was named North Region Conference Defensive Player of the year for basketball. When taking the next step of transferring, Long’s Peninsula College coaches were in communication with Cal Poly Humboldt’s women’s head soccer coach Grant Landy and women’s head basketball coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. Long shared that she was talking to other colleges as well during her transferring process, but it was mostly about one sport. That’s when it became clear to Long that Humboldt was the place for her.
“I think [it] mainly was the opportunity to play both sports, that was a big thing for me, because for me I couldn’t really choose which sport I liked better,” Long said. “At my [junior college], I was able to play both as well, and then from there I just didn’t really know which route I wanted to take. Then when they said that I would be able to play both, that’s when it really caught my eye.”
What caught both coaches Landy and Bento-Jackson’s eyes was her competitive and hard-working attitude. Landy said that she is a great teammate, very humble and supportive. Bento-Jackson’s response also aligned with this.
“Emilia is a terrific addition to our athletic department as a whole. She is such a wonderful person and a great teammate,” Bento-Jackson said. “Anyone and everyone who meets Emilia has nothing but positive things to say about her. She has a very pleasant spirit about her, along with a good balance between being a great competitor and a sweetheart of a person.”
Due to it being the fall season, Long is committed to working with the soccer team at the moment and she has already made history during her time there. The team’s mantra is “stay hungry,” and Long emulated exactly that on Sept. 2. It was a homecoming for Long and she was able to make history in front of her family. She scored four goals against Seattle Pacific, being the first Lumberjack in program history to do so. This led the Jack’s to a 4-3 victory over the Falcons – their first ever win against the Falcons – and earned her the title of CCAA Offensive Player of the Week for Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
“I am really competitive, and I just wanted to win the game, that was all that was in my mind,” Long said.
For Long, her approach to the game is to play fast, hard and give 100% effort. Landy further explained that she likes to get to the goal and create chances for other players and herself. With basketball, coach Bento-Jackson expressed that she has the ability to attack the basket and is a strong defender.
“She’s tough and always finds a way to get the job done,” Bento-Jackson said.
The women’s soccer team is currently undefeated with a record of 5-0-1. When asked what is different about the Jack’s this year, Coach Landy said the chemistry between the team is electric.
“The team is gaining more confidence with each other and trusting their teammates. We are deeper this year in all positions,” Landy said. “They have a sharp competitive edge which has shown itself so far in practice and games.”
Women’s soccer is having their first conference game at home against Sonoma State Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Women’s basketball is listed to start their season on Oct. 29, so once soccer season ends for Long, you will be able to see her in action on the court.