Sept. 16, 2010
By Katie Weise
For Emily and Nick McNutt, running literally runs in the family.
Emily, a freshman on the University of Georgia cross country team, says she started running in eighth grade after watching her brother, Nick, go to practice everyday. The siblings ended up running together on free days and had an exciting moment when they both won the county meet in high school.
After her brother graduated from Etowah High School, Emily went on to finish fifth at both the GHSA AAAAA state cross country meet and in the 3200-meter run at the state track meet as a senior. A four-time MVP of the cross country team, she also set school records in the 4x800, 3200 and 5k.
According to Nick, the two were “good in different areas,” and so they weren’t necessarily competitive with each other. Nick is her only sibling and two years older than her.
“I loved being on the same team as my brother in high school, he definitely encouraged me and we would always discuss the races,” said Emily, who finished 13th with a personal-best 18:43 at the season-opening Georgia Cross Country Invitational, which marked her first collegiate meet. “I am glad we are not the same gender though, because then it would be a competition. This way we can just motivate each other.”
Nick started running as a freshman in high school and still runs for Georgia Tech. While he enjoys the family vacations and the four-hour dinner conversations he shares with his sister, he supports her decision to run at his rival school.
“I wasn’t disappointed,” said Nick, who was 21st at this year’s Georgia Cross Country Invitational in the men’s 8k. “UGA and Tech excel in different types of degrees, and I think UGA is a perfect fit for hers.”
With the dual meet on Thursday, Emily, a Food Science major at UGA, and Nick look forward to how their teams will perform. UGA has won both of the past duel meets in convincing fashion. In 2008, the men won by 10 points and the women by 21. Last year, the meet was swept again by Georgia with both men’s and women’s teams earning a perfect score (15) and beating Tech by 35 points.
Nick and Emily aren’t the only ones that the race has extra meaning for. Bulldog coach Jeff Pigg, a three-time All-American while at Florida, and Georgia Tech coach Alan Drosky, an All-American at Georgia Tech, competed on a regular basis in middle distance events during college.
According to Pigg, after both he and Drosky took their first coaching job in 1990, the two have helped each other out throughout the years, exchanging advice and giving encouragement along the way.
While it would have been fun to run on the same team in college, being rivals is still just as fun, Emily said. Nick and Emily are looking forward to cheering on their team, as well as seeing each other do their best.
“I will definitely be cheering for UGA,” Emily said. “But I’ll also cheer for Nick, even if I have to stand away from my tent to do it. I want UGA to win of course, but I would love my brother to have an amazing race.”