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OHS Grad Harper Ready To Throw For Fresno State
After closing out a highly successful athletic career at Oakdale High School, Emma Harper will attend Fresno State in the fall and join the throws team for Bulldog track and field.

Emma Harper, who graduated from Oakdale High School in May, has decided to further her education and sports career at Fresno State. The former Mustang is a decorated student-athlete who played both volleyball and competed in throws, both discus and shot put. This fall she will attend Fresno State where she will major in biology and compete in throws.

Harper’s high school coach, Brett Chappell, spoke highly of Harper and he has full confidence in her moving forward.

“Emma has been delightful to coach these past four years. Her work ethic has developed her talents into one of the top throwers in the state. That is not easy in California. I’m very excited that she is furthering her education and throwing career at Fresno State. I am very confident that she will blossom into an elite college thrower.”

Like most student-athletes in 2021, Harper had to choose which sport to play due to the season shake up as a result of the pandemic. She had to choose between volleyball, which she had played her previous three years, or take part in track and field in the throwing arena.

“It was a hard decision to be honest. I had been playing volleyball, not just during high school but I also played club volleyball as well,” Harper explained, noting she had played volleyball since she was 12. “So when it came down to either volleyball or throws, I ultimately chose throws. Throwing is year-round so I really wanted to start focusing on throws.”

Harper said she will always cherish her time at Oakdale High School.

“It went so fast. I feel like half of my time was in sports or in the classroom (or Zoom) for the last year. I was either in a classroom or on the court or throwing. I will always look back at my time and accomplishments with a smile. My favorite memory though is when I won the tri-county meet a few years ago at Oakdale. It was cool to not only win, but to host the event as well.”

She had many options for her post high school career and education. Some of her other options included Cal State Northridge and Sacramento State.

“The recruiting process was difficult. Because of the pandemic you could not get the whole experience. No on campus visits made it a challenge. However, my Zoom meeting with Fresno State was special,” said Harper. “The coaches were amazing and my team was very welcoming in.”

At the collegiate level, Harper will compete in throws, which include hammer, discus and shot put.

Harper wanted to thank and acknowledge those who had helped her reach this milestone in her life.

“Coach Chappell was a true motivator to all of us. He taught me so much and really had patience and made me a better thrower,” she said.” I want to thank my parents (Matt and Sandy Harper) as well as my friends.”