Emma McGill has always wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps.
On Wednesday, McGill, one of the top distance running recruits in the state, made that dream become a reality when the Voorhees star announced that she has committed to run for Villanova University, where her mother, Mary Ellen McGowan, starred on the track and the trails for the Wildcats in the early 1980's.
McGill also considered Penn State, Northwestern, Columbia, Cornell, Richmond, and Monmouth, but in the end she went with where heart has always been.
"There were so many things that made me choose Villanova,'' said McGill. "It's such a great school academically, and its program just holds so much history. Coach Gina (Procaccio) is an amazing coach, and I got along with her really well. My mother also ran there back in the day, so it's always been a dream of mine to go there. I'm super excited.''
McGill's mom, a distance running star at Pascack Valley HS, was a member of Nova's world record setting DMR squad that ran 10:53.27 at the 1984 Penn Relays. She still holds some Nova school records, and made multiple appearances at the NCAA Championships, including 21st at the 1983 NCAA XC Championships.
McGill, who would have been one of the favorites to win the Meet of Champions title this season (the NJSIAA is ending the XC season after sectionals), has certainly made a name for herself by putting together a remarkable resume during her illustrious high school career.
Last fall, McGill won seven major titles, highlighted by a Holmdel Park PR of 18:41 that she ran to win the State Group 2 title. She matched that PR of 18:41 a week later when she placed fourth at the Meet of Champions.
McGill's other XC victories in 2019 came at the Roxbury Invit. (a PR of 18:12), the Battle at Ocean County Park (18:46), the Shore Coaches Invit. (18:52), the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Championships (19:14), and at the Central Jersey, Group 2 meet (18:25).
McGill followed up her fantastic XC campaign with the best indoor season of her career.
She won the 1,600-meter run at the State Group 2 meet in 4:59.15, placed third in the 1,600 at the M of C, and blasted PR's of 4:55.66 for 1,600, 4:57.40 for the mile, and 11:06.97 for 3,200.