Meet the ALHS Hall of Fame inductee: Emily (Bartusek) Zanon

Published 8:51 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

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Class of 2004

My family members and what I’m doing now: My family includes me and my husband, Jacob. I’m also blessed with parents (Rick and Mary Bohlen and Mike and Monica Seering), siblings (Dave and Erin Streefland) and nephews (Max and Weston Streefland). I work as a watershed project manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and write water quality reports that describe the conditions of our rivers, lakes and streams and recommendations to restore and protect them. I also manage grant dollars for water quality projects. When I’m not working, I enjoy gardening, fishing, bow-hunting, hiking (really anything outdoors) and taking care of our chickens, lambs, cats and dog on our hobby farm.

Emily (Bartusek) Zanon

ALHS sports played: Volleyball, basketball, track and field

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Favorite ALHS sports memory: There are so many, I don’t know if I can choose one specific track memory! One thing I will always remember is what it feels like to run the 400 meters. For those who run it, they know it is a grueling event. Though it was really tough, I considered it my best event. And, in pretty much every single 400-meter I ran, I knew that on the third corner I’d hear my dad, Phil, yell, “COME ON, EM!! Kick it in, LET’S GO!!” He gave me the drive to finish strong. That meant the world to me.

Favorite memory outside of ALHS sports: I’d say my favorite memory is elk hunting with my husband in Wyoming. It was Halloween of 2019, 30 below zero at night, and lots of snow. In late afternoon, we spotted a cow elk about 115 yards walking up a ridge. I hunkered down with my rifle and waited. The cow elk apparently got tired and decided to bed down under a cedar tree, out of my shooting lane. We waited and watched, crouched in the snow for 45 minutes. As light was fading, I whispered to Jacob, “We need to DO something!” He let out a whistle, the elk stood and I shot. We packed out that elk under a clear night sky full of stars. It was our first elk and an unforgettable experience.

The most influential person in my athletic career: Without a doubt, my parents. They invested so much time, love and energy helping me develop my running ability. They drove me out to Sacramento, down to St. Louis and up to the Twin Cities so I could have as many opportunities as I could to race and train. My mom and dad would run with me, record my race times, film my races and be the best coach and cheerleader.

Something most people don’t know about me: I strive to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. As part of that, I grow all types of vegetables and fruit, gather wild edibles, raise animals and harvest wild game. It’s a lot of hard work but brings me so much joy!

My advice for young athletes is: Work hard and put in the time. Natural talent will only get you so far. Save your certificates, newspaper clippings, medals and pictures; you’ll appreciate being able to reminisce at your accomplishments when you’re older. Also — be kind to your knees!

The 2023 Albert Lea High School Athletic Hall of Fame Reception is July 28, starting at 5 p.m. Forms can be picked up at the downtown CVB office. Or go online to and then search the “Alumni/Educators” tab at the top. Since 2010, this event has been a fundraiser with all of the proceeds used to help reduce the cost of athletic participation for local student athletes.