Nobody likes a two-mile run, but when the Toll Gate girls' soccer team laced up for their annual preseason tradition, Emily Fox never complained.
It was a chance to win something.
“I was probably the most competitive person on the team,” Fox said. “We do a two-mile run every year, a hell week type thing. I was always really competitive with that. I wanted to win.”
Whether she was on the field or the ice – or the makeshift path for a preseason two-mile run – that competitive fire served Fox very well.
Fox was a standout athlete for four years and, in what turned out to be a tremendous senior year at Toll Gate, she earned second-team All-State honors in soccer and a first-team All-State nod in hockey.
It was a year to remember.
“I'll definitely have my favorite memories from this year,” Fox said. “I had a lot of fun.”
All the success wasn't unexpected. Fox was a key player for Toll Gate soccer as a junior and an emerging star for a rapidly improving Warwick girls' hockey co-op team that winter.
With the potential for more in 2012-13, Fox delivered.
On the soccer field, the Titans rebounded from a three-win campaign in 2011 to win five games and grab a playoff spot this year. Fox was a catalyst, regularly creating scoring chances from her spot on the wing.
“Toll Gate soccer has always been so big,” Fox said. “I’ve never been to tryouts with so many girls in my life. We were really determined to make playoffs, and we were happy with that.”
In addition to her role as playmaker, Fox tapped into that old competitiveness to keep her team fired up.
“I’m an extremely competitive person so I think that was always my role,” Fox said. “I was always trying to get everyone ready and focused. I think that’s something that needs to be done more.”
When soccer season ended with a tough 3-0 playoff loss to Barrington, Fox turned her attention to hockey, the sport she's always considered her favorite.
What happened on the ice perfectly matched that passion.
Fox grew up watching her sisters play for a then-brand new Warwick co-op team. It was a struggle for the Warwick squad back then, but Fox cheered for the Titans at every stop. From an early age, she and her family – her dad was an assistant coach for a time – were all about Warwick girls' hockey. They wanted the best for it.
In the 2012-13 season, Fox and her teammates delivered it.
The Titans moved up to Division I and met the challenge, finishing with a 10-7 record and even knocking off perennial power Mount St. Charles in the regular season. Though they didn't meet their goal of playing for a state championship, they put together what was unquestionably the program's best-ever season.
“We had a great year in hockey, definitely the best season we’ve ever had. Division II, we’d go in and beat teams 7-0 and it just wasn’t as much as fun,” Fox said. “Playing La Salle three times, Mount three times, Burrillville three times – it was great and it really kept us competitive. It was a challenge. Nothing was ever easy. I’m mad we didn’t finish the way we could have finished, but it was still a great season overall.”
Fox was at the center of it. Despite the uptick in competition, she maintained her status as one of the state's leading scorers, ranking sixth in the league with 28 points and finishing with 14 goals.
“"Emily's been the backbone of the team since I've been here, not just in her points production, but her positive attitude and her work ethic," said head coach Dave Tibbetts.
Fox also hit a milestone when she became the first player in Warwick girls' hockey history to reach 100 career points.
“That was pretty awesome,” Fox said.
The team couldn't have picked a more fitting history-maker, considering Fox's own history with the team. She'll leave it in good hands, with a lot of talented young players ready to take Warwick girls' hockey to even greater heights.
For Fox, it was a fitting ending – but it won't be the real ending.
Fox will enroll in the University of Rhode Island's pharmacy program in the fall. When winter rolls around, she'll lace up her skates for the women's club hockey team, one of the top club programs in the region.
The competitor still needs some competition.
“I’m so excited to keep playing hockey,” she said. “I can't hang up the skates yet.”