COMPETING: Emma Cho (12) plays at Nike Park in her last New Wave club tournament ever. (Photo by Emma Cho)
COMPETING: Emma Cho (12) plays at Nike Park in her last New Wave club tournament ever.

Photo by Emma Cho

Athlete of the month: Emma Cho

April 27, 2021

Senior Emma Cho has had to say the least an unusual high school lacrosse experience, as her senior year will be the first year she will be able to play for DG Lax. After a torn right ACL in 2018 at freshman year tryouts, she tore her left ACL a year later in 2019. On top of two missed seasons, her junior year was cancelled due to COVID. 

“I was so excited for the junior year lacrosse season, but before I knew it, everything was shut down. I think I was angry, more than anything. I thought, ‘Again? Seriously? Freshman year, sophomore year, and now junior year?’” Cho wrote in an email. “I joked that it was like the universe was against me playing lacrosse, especially because during the first week of senior year season, I got contact traced.”

When Cho’s coach of four years, New Wave Lacrosse Director Gina Fisher, heard the news of the second injury, she was devastated. 

“You never want your players to get injured once, yet alone twice in the same manner,” Fisher said. “It seemed unfair that someone who worked so hard to get back to a good place physically, was now having to redo the steps of rehabilitation a short time later.”

After two missed seasons, learning how to walk and squat again, and ultimately nine months of recovery, Cho had to decide if she was going to keep playing lacrosse. 

“There were times when I considered quitting or to stop playing seriously, because the worst part of it all was sitting on the sideline while I watched my friends play,” Cho said. “ In the end, I knew there was no way I was going to give up when I still had stuff to show off. I didn’t play lacrosse for so long just to stop when there was still a chance to play again, and I wouldn’t abandon my teammates like that.”

Teammate Sarah Nitti has been playing lacrosse with Cho for a short period of time, but has already seen how much Cho is dedicated to her sport. 

“Her perseverance and dedication to the sport has not only inspired me but the DG Lax program as a whole,” Nitti said. “During this past summer, I had found myself in a huge mental block when it came to lacrosse and wasn’t performing the way I wanted to. I don’t know if Emma knew this or not but literally every time I was down, she was always there cheering me on and giving me solid advice.”

On April 15, Cho committed to Occidental College in Los Angeles to play lacrosse and follow her academic interests. 

“Occidental is lucky to have Emma Cho in their program. I was so happy that Emma wanted to further her lacrosse career in college,” Fisher said. “With missing two seasons during high school due to injury, I knew she had so much more to offer and get out of lacrosse before tossing her cleats to the side.”

DG Lax kicked off their season April 24 with a tough loss against York (14-8), one goal scored by Cho at her first home game ever. Despite all of the obstacles Cho has endured, she believes everything happens for a reason.

“My injuries forced me to take a long look at myself as an athlete and person, and made me realize what I needed to do if I wanted to play at the next level,” Cho said. “My setbacks fueled a fire in me to get better and stronger, and I’ve developed a passion for lacrosse because of my setbacks and the process I took to overcome them.”

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