Bethany College Student Emily Andrews Sets Sights on 2012 Olympic Competition

BETHANY, W.Va. — For freshman Emily Andrews, Bethany College — with its classical curriculum, competitive athletic programs and conveniently located 1,300-acre campus — provides the ideal setting in which to pursue a rigorous academic program while following her dream to represent the USA as an Olympic athlete. And, as the end of her first year at Bethany draws near, Andrews’ goal to compete in the 2012 Summer Games appears well within her grasp.

Andrews discovered her sport, the women’s modern pentathlon, when she was 16 and at a summer camp for the tetrathlon, a variant of the modern pentathlon that does not include fencing. The women’s modern pentathlon competition is comprised of five disciplines: épée fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, a combination 3,000-meter run and air pistol shooting, and equestrian riding and jumping. It was at the camp that Andrews discovered her gift for fencing, and she decided to explore the many possibilities that modern pentathlon competition offers.

From Absecon, N.J., Andrews is a member of Bethany’s swim, cross country and track teams and continues her running and swimming workouts even during the offseason. She drives to the University of Pittsburgh twice weekly for fencing practice, rides her horse, Kahulla, every other day, competes in local equestrian events, and practices dry firing in the barn. Despite her strenuous training schedule, she maintains a 3.4 grade point average.

During the College’s winter break, Andrews and her USA teammates competed in the 2009 Pan American Championships held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her team won bronze. Andrews earned gold at both the San Antonio Nationals and the California Nationals. Her next national competition is set for April in Colorado. If she wins the gold or silver there, she will go on to compete with the USA Women’s Team at the World Cup competition being held in Hungary in May.

Andrews has become adept at balancing the many demands of her academic and athletic pursuits. “If I know I have a test the next day, I back off on some of my training to leave more time to study, and vice versa. It’s not easy in any way,” she stated. “It’s hard to say ‘no’ to friends, even when I know I have a 6 a.m. workout the next morning. But fun and friends will always be there, and opportunities like this come and go.”

Andrews watched the Olympics as a child and was struck by the participants’ strength, endurance and dedication. She says she often asked if their sacrifices were worth the potential gain — to be a second faster or jump a little higher. Today, Andrews asks these same questions of herself. However, as she represents her country in competitions across the world and enjoys the camaraderie of teammates and the strong support of her family, Andrews says she knows that all of her hard work and sacrifices are worthwhile.

She expresses a special gratitude for her mother. “I could not do anything or be the person who I am now without my mom,” she said. “She is such a wonderful woman and has been by my side every big and small step of the way."

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.