In a family filled with champions, 5-foot-7 Emma Teichert stands tall. The youngest of Ron and Vonda Teichert’s six children, Emma should be competing in her senior track season for Cokeville and getting ready for next month’s state meet. Instead, Teichert, along with the rest of the students in the state, are having to stay at home because of the coronavirus outbreak.
With online classes and helping out on her family’s cattle ranch, Teichert hasn’t had any problem staying busy, however.
“I feel like there is always something to do,” she said last week in a phone interview. “Yesterday we drove our cows to our summer pasture and it just seems like I’m always busy.”
Staying busy comes naturally for Teichert. A three-sport standout for the Panthers, the lead-by-example Teichert was a two-time Class 1A all-state selection in both volleyball and basketball and won six gold medals in state track. The two-time defending state champ in the 300-meter hurdles and defending state champ in the 100 hurdles – she also ran a leg on the Panthers’ winning 4x400 relay team the past three years – was hoping to add to that haul next month.
“Emma has had an outstanding career and track is probably the sport she excels in the most,” said Cokeville girls’ basketball coach and assistant track coach Briant Teichert, who is also Emma’s uncle.
Emma and her basketball teammates defeated Kaycee on March 7 to complete a 24-2 season and win their second state championship in a row. That came just four months after the Panthers swept their way to a third consecutive state volleyball title. Unfortunately, their quest for a fourth consecutive state track title never got started.
Most schools around the state made the call to go with online classes beginning on March 16. Then, on April 7, the Wyoming High School Activities Association Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the spring sports season.
“When school first got canceled I thought things would get back to normal in three weeks,” Emma said. “And then when things kept happening I was expecting track to get canceled. But I was still really discouraged when it did get canceled because I had worked so hard for so many years at it and there were some times that I wanted to get this year. But I can’t change any of that.
“Right now it kind of feels just like I started summer break early.”
With no track practice, Emma is focusing on what she can control – online classes; moving cattle; working on the ranch; and card games with brother James (Class of 2015) and sister Janetta (Class of 2018), who are home from classes at BYU. Older siblings Mary (Class of 2008), Celinda (Class of 2010) and Brigham (Class of 2013) all graduated from BYU and no longer live at home.
“Everything is a competition in our family,” Emma laughed. “Me and my brothers really hate to lose, so usually someone’s not happy at the end of a card game.”
That family competition – and togetherness – is also apparent in sports. Beginning with Mary in 2005, the Teichert family (Ron and Vonda’s kids) won 15 individual gold medals at state track and were part of nine state championship relay teams. In addition, Brigham and James excelled in football (both were Super 25 selections) and wrestling (James was a four-time state champ while Brigham won three titles); and Mary, Celinda and Janetta were three-sport standouts. Combined, the six kids were part of 27 state championship teams at Cokeville.
Being the youngest, Emma admitted there were times when she felt like she had to uphold that legacy.
“I feel like it’s an expectation and there is some pressure,” she said, “but we all enjoy it. It’s not a bad pressure. And being the youngest I always know where to turn for homework help or help with sports.”
More often than not, it was Emma’s classmates who turned to her for help.
“During volleyball season she’s at the gym at 6 in the morning serving volleyballs,” Briant said. “During basketball season she’s in the gym working on her ball handling and shooting. And as soon as basketball season is over she’s in the gym running.
“She just has a dedication and each sport has been very meaningful for her. When you have that kind of attitude you just want it more.”
Emma, along with fellow seniors Lily Richardson and Kamille Nate demonstrated that dedication throughout their high school careers. For years, Briant Teichert opened the gym every Tuesday at 6 a.m. for kids from third grade to junior high to develop their basketball skills.
“We would just work on fundamentals,” he said. “We would do 10 minutes of dribbling, 10 minutes of passing and shoot some layups. And then we play 3-on-2 or 2-on-1 so they incorporate those things into their games.
“I get a mix of kids, both boys and girls, and Lily and Emma have been a part of that for a long time. These seniors are just a great bunch and I’m really going to miss them.”
Emma Teichert credits her brother Brigham for being the family frontrunner for those early morning workouts, which she was happy to continue. She won’t, however, follow her siblings’ college path to BYU. Instead, Emma signed to play volleyball at Northwest College in Powell.
“I guess I’m kind of the rebel,” she said with a laugh.
She’s also the last in the line for a family that has left its mark not only in Cokeville but throughout the state with its hard work, determination and state championships. And this early “summer break” has allowed Emma to look back at what her and classmates Richardson and Nate accomplished during their time at Cokeville.
“I hadn’t really thought about it before,” she admitted, “but the three of us did quite a lot, especially together. We have a lot of great memories.
“There are different plays in different sports that stand out … and all those championships.”
Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @CASJackN
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