Raider on the Radar

Emily Nienhuis

This week’s Raider on the Radar is Emily Nienhuis, a senior on the cross country team. She earned NAIA Scholar Athlete honors as a junior last season and competed in both the Augustana Twilight Meet and the Herb Blakely Invite. Earlier this season, Nienhuis ran in the Augustana Twilight Meet and finished the 3-mile race with a time of 24:01.60.

Emily is pursuing a major in Chemistry and a minor in Physics. She is a member of the Dean’s List and is from Oak Harbor, Washington.

Why did you choose Northwestern?

I chose NWC because it was the small, Christian community that I was looking for. I also had an aunt and an uncle attend NWC and they both had nothing but positive experiences to share with me.

So far, what has been the best part of your Northwestern College experience?

I have made some great friends. Some of the experiences we have shared have been phenomenal. They have had me to their homes over breaks and holidays. Last year, we went camping and had a run in with a raccoon. We have been lost in Sioux City. We have gone on midnight Wal-Mart runs after physics tests. The good times are unlimited. I wouldn’t trade my four years with them for the world.

What makes Orange City a great place to be?

I love the fact that Orange City is a community built around the college. The folks of Orange City are always so friendly and welcoming, especially to a student nearly 2000 miles from home! Orange City also has many great churches. I have loved attending my Orange City church and getting to know the people there. Orange City is my home away from home.

What is something that makes your team special or unique?

Cross country is unique in the fact that it has both men’s and women’s teams that practice with each other and compete at the same meets. It really creates a unique team unity. The teams are also fairly small, so you can really get to know everyone. The XC team also has neat traditions such as our annual trip to Pumpkinland and our Saturday morning long runs followed by pancake breakfasts. It is these things that make the XC team truly special in my mind.

What's the best part about competing in the GPAC?

Because the other GPAC schools compete at most of the same meets that NWC does, we really get the opportunity to know our competition. I know many of the girls that I race against, well enough to ask them how they are doing and to even joke around with them. I remember at a track meet last year, a group of Briar Cliff girls joined in us in our pre-race prayer. I can’t say that I have ever seen that done before. The GPAC is not only made up of excellent athletes, but also people of excellent character.

What advice would you give a high school athlete looking to compete collegiately?

I would tell them that it is an excellent experience and that I have benefited by being a member of the cross country team, but I would also tell them that it is a huge time commitment. Any prospective college athlete needs to have discipline, not only in practice and competition, but also in academics. I would also tell them it is important to remember who they are competing for. Ultimately, we are called to live our lives as children and followers of God, and that includes competition. I can guarantee that competing collegiately will be much more rewarding if the focus is on Him.

What advice would you give the freshmen on your team?

As my mother always says, use your resources. The transition from high school to college can be a difficult one. It is not stress-free. Talk to the upperclassmen. Talk to coaches. Find a mentor. Many people have been through the stress of freshman year, they know what to do and probably what not to do.

I would also tell them it is important to remember who they are competing for. Ultimately, we are called to live our lives as children and followers of God, and that includes competition. I can guarantee that competing collegiately will be much more rewarding if the focus is on Him.

Who was your biggest role model growing up?

My biggest role model was, and still is, my Papa, Eldred Nienhuis. He is not a man of many words, but nonetheless, you can tell that he is truly a man of God. He has an unconditional and unfailing love for those around him. If I could live my life in the way that Papa lives his, I would be doing just fine.

What’s your favorite pre-race meal?

Like any distance runner, I am a huge fan of pasta the night before a race. I also love fruit snacks, specifically the Wal-Mart brand ones that are in the shape of smiley faces.

Favorite movie?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It’s a classic.

Favorite book?

The Chronicles of Narnia

Favorite TV show?

New Girl. Thanks to Netflix.

What are your hobbies outside of your sport?

I love to go hiking and camping back home in Washington. I also greatly enjoy baking, specifically pies. My family has deemed me the “pie snob.”

Favorite place you've visited?

Black Lake in the Pasayten Wilderness. It is somewhere in the North Cascades of Washington that can be reached by a day long hike. It is a very raw and natural beauty.

What was your first job?

I worked in my uncle’s cabinet shop. I did anything from sanding cabinets to installing floors.

What is your dream job?

My goal is to go to graduate school for Materials Science and Engineering. From there, I really don’t know what my dream job is. Ideally, I would like to use that degree to work in the field and to do research, but I have also considered teaching at a college in the future.