Augustin approaches finish line of EHS career


Photo courtesy of Wesley Works.

Liza Duerholz, Editor-in-Chief

This previously ran in our April 2022 print issue.

Senior Heather Augustin’s high school career finally comes to a close after she spent four years honing her skills on the track and firing up her teammates on the sidelines.

Augustin moved from California to Emmaus the summer prior to her freshman year. For several years of her life, Augustin had been enthralled with gymnastics, and she kept with it up until leaving California. She was saddened to let her passion go, but quickly found a home in Emmaus track and field. 

Her sister, Keerstin Augustin, a 2021 graduate, was a talented runner, so Augustin decided to join her for Winter Track and Field freshman year. As a freshman joining a high school team, feeling a little on the outside is natural. Although, not many underclassmen were outsiders in the sense of just moving halfway across the country.

Although with Augustin’s friendly personality and the kindness of upperclassmen like Mackenzie Dries, a 2021 graduate, Augustin fell into place and found her inspiration for her senior year attitude.

“Mackie Dries was… definitely the biggest personality, and she was so fun to be around and she just made you feel very included. I’m trying to be like her,” Augustin said.

Equipped with competitiveness and willingness to make friends, Augustin acclimated to the new environment where she built relationships and learned how to make people feel included.

“If I hadn’t done track my freshman year, when I was new, it would have been such a different high school experience for me,” Augustin said. “I was able to meet so many new people. 

“That’s the great thing about the track: it’s so huge that you walk down the hall and every other person is a familiar face,” she said.

Four years later, Augustin is a leading senior on the team, welcoming underclassmen, bringing athletes together, and setting an example for hard work and growth. Part of that is staying after practice to work on skills and giving instructions to the team.

“Now, I feel like the accountability is on myself to do extra work. I feel like I have to be the one [to say] ‘okay now we’re gonna do this and maybe we’ll go here after track’ and it’s not just me following directions, I have to give directions and be one of the leaders,” Augustin said. “I feel like I can’t just be happy to be included, I have to include other people as well.”

Senior Jena Luck joined the team her junior year, and she also runs the 4×100 meter relay with Augustin. Luck has watched Augustin grow into the athlete she is today: a talented runner, supportive teammate, and strong leader. 

“She’s super outgoing … She interacts with everyone. She’s also a really hard worker when it comes to track, like she will stay late almost every day to make sure she gets everything down right,” Luck said. “Since everyone knows who she is, everyone looks to her for help with a specific thing. Like if people want to learn how to start correctly at the line or form for running, they usually go to her to make sure their form [is] right.”

Coach Kami Reinhard describes Augustin as “sunshine” and a “role-model,” aiding the team in staying united during the pandemic after they completely lost their 2020 season, and continuing to pull people together as they try to return to “normal.” Essentially, this season’s seniors are the only athletes on the team that experienced a full, regular season pre-pandemic.

“She knows what normal is. And then she saw last year which was completely opposite, everything was opposite. We’re telling them to ‘stay apart, don’t be together, don’t get near people, don’t work together,’” Reinhard said. “She knows what it is, but we’re not there yet. So she is a key player to getting our team back to what it was like.”

On the track, Augustin typically runs the 100m or 200m sprint (although she runs up to 400m) and the 4x100m relay: a four-person relay race where each runner takes a 100m section. Her freshman year, she attended states as an alternate for the 4x100m relay – meaning she could have ran any of the four legs her first year. Since then, she has become a valued member of the team, attending districts in the 2021 season. This year, she hopes to make it to districts, whether it be on the 4×1, 4×4, or 200m-400m sprint.

“As a freshman, she came in and I’m sure she probably was not expecting to be on the state team, and again because of her personality, and her work ethic, we knew we could count on her, no matter what,” Reinhard said. “She is someone who is focused on a goal and she will do whatever she can to reach that goal.”

As for college, Augustin does not plan on running track at a competitive level, but possibly for an intramural team.

Her most prominent challenge has been adjusting from the mindset of a gymnast, where there was a constant visible improvement and more personal development, to track, where it is more challenging to progress in a short amount of time, and there is constant competition. It was also difficult because Augustin classifies herself as a “competitive” athlete. 

“Just accepting that I’m not gonna be the most dominant or the fastest person on the track [has been a challenge],” Augustin said. “It’s me being like, ‘it’s okay, we don’t have to be the best person, we can try and help other people.’”

Upon reflecting on her achievements from the past four seasons, Augustin takes pride in her athletic accomplishments as well as her ability to step into leadership.

“[Going to states freshman year and] being a young person that was able to just see it from the start and go that far in the postseason, that was really special,” said Augustin. “But being able to go from the new person, the outsider, and then now I’m the person that’s trying to include people… I’d say little freshman Heather would be happy to know that I was able to get out of my shell a little bit.”