Student Spotlight on Danielle Emter, SoCal League

Danielle Emter is a freshmen on the South Orange County Composite Team, racing in the SoCal League.  James

Carillo,Danielle’s coach, said about her, “Danielle is a talented rider that brings spirit to the team. She has been excited to compete in the league since Leila started telling her racing stories three years ago.”‘

We caught up with Danielle halfway through the SoCal race season.
What made you want to race in the SoCal League?
My dad is a friend of Jamie, the head coach of the South Orange County Composite Team. Some of my friends joined the team and recruited me to join too. I’ve been trying to get more people on the team since I started too! I already got one to join and I’m always looking for others to join.
I live right near a great trail system and I’ve been riding those trails for 8 years now. I’ve done the Over the Hump mountain bike series and have had a lot of fun, but I was always one of the only girls my age. Racing in the SoCal League there are a bunch of girls I get to compete against. I love that!
What attracts you to the sport of mountain biking?
I love getting outdoors and on the trails, especially when the whole team is there. I especially like riding the technical trails – I’ve been riding dirt bikes (with motors!) for a long time and that has helped my mountain biking skills.
Walk us through the “Cruise the Keys” race.
On Saturday we went to pre-ride as a team. When we come to the harder sections we all stopped to talk about how best to ride them. Alex Milewski helps me out a lot and we talk about how to pick the right lines. All of the Varsity riders give the younger teammates advice on the trails and at the races.
On Sunday I was feeling a little bit sick but raced anyways. I was riding ok but then crashed on a technical section. I managed to get going again and ended the race in fourth place. During the race, the technical downhill was really fun and I had a blast there – reminds me of riding my dirt bike!
Tell us about the pink tutu.
Alex made a bet to wear a pink tutu at the first race. He chickened out so I thought someone should wear it. I’ve worn it at three races now. Since I started wearing it, everyone is calling me “Pink Swan” and I hear people cheering me on saying “Go Pink Tutu girl!” I love hearing it and it’s a lot of fun, so now I just wear it at the races.
What is the team going to look like when you’re a senior?
We’ll have all the freshmen we have on the team this year. We have 12 riders now – when I’m a senior I hope we have a lot more and lots of seniors on the team too. We will also have recruited more people from the schools that don’t ride bikes yet, people that don’t know how much fun it is.
I know you’ve only participated a few races, but you’re doing very well! Do you plan on racing throughout high school?
Yes, I plan on racing because it’s really fun and I like racing with my friends. I do cross country in the Fall and I’m going to try to keep doing both.  I do have some nagging injuries from cross country running, though. If that keeps up I’ll likely just stick to mountain biking.
Once I graduate I want to keep riding bikes! It would be really fun to come back and coach the team!
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