Saucon Valley High School senior Emily Polefka began playing softball as an eight-year-old in the local youth program. Upon entering high school she began playing outfield, eventually taking over at shortstop, her present position. She is quick to point out that her mom, who played Division I softball for Boston College, also began as an outfielder before she also played shortstop. Playing softball is a spring-through-September activity, as Emily also plays on travel teams, including five years for the Eastern Valley Waves and this past year for Vengeance. During the fall, Emily also finds time to run cross country for the Panthers. As a member of a travel team she has been to various tournaments throughout the U.S., including the Wide World of Sports Tournament in Florida.
At the moment the Panthers' 14-0 record is a definite team highlight, while Emily's personal highlight came last season, when she delivered the game-winning hit that defeated Bethlehem Catholic in what she described as "an intense game which had been interrupted by a thunderstorm." Emily really likes playing shortstop because she is involved in the game by giving the outfielders signs as to the pitches that will be thrown, which helps the outfielders anticipate where the batter might hit the ball.
First year Head Coach Scott Didra could hardly contain his enthusiasm for this year's softball team, which he describes as "a great bunch of players."
As for his team's co-captain, Polefka, both he and assistant coach Jeff Ebert agreed that "she's got it...she's a natural." They added that Emily is a great person, a talented athlete and a team leader, both on and off the field. She possesses all of the positive qualities which cannot be taught, they said.
As for role models, while Emily's mom has influenced her as a softball player, it is her dad who has played an important role in her desire to help individuals with special needs.
Emily has helped at the Special Olympic games, where she was assigned a contestant that she accompanied throughout the day, serving as a friend and personal cheerleader. Emily has also been involved with fellow Panther player Paige Phillips (a cancer survivor) in Saucon Valley Relay for Life, which will be held this year on June 4 and 5 in Hellertown's Dimmick Park. Emily has also served as a mentor in a fourth grade class and as an educational intern in a second grade class.
Emily is a member of Saucon Valley's chapter of the National Honor Society and the Model UN. Her favorite subject is English and she said she will never turn down anything made with cheese, such as pizza. Emily will enroll at West Chester University where she is already in the Honors Program. She wants to double major in Special Education and Secondary Education.
Emily has a younger sister, Kimmy, and is the daughter of John and Sarah Polefka.