A short time after it began, the coronavirus pandemic forced the CIF to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which meant an abrupt ending to the high school careers of spring sports seniors around the central valley. As a way of honoring some of these outstanding seniors, the Sports Central team will be presenting a series of stories called “Senior Standouts.” They will air in sports at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. each Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of June, and others, like the story below, will appear here on our website.
Julia Nelsen: Exeter Track and Field
4x100m Central Sequoia League relay champion
4x400m Central Sequoia League relay champion
Holds the 4x200m relay school record
Ranks top 10 in the 100m, 200m, and 400m
2018/2019 Newcomer of the Year Award
This year’s Key Club President, FCA President, and part of the Captains Council as well.
Describe the emotions when your senior track and field season was cancelled?
I was shocked in regards to our season ending. Realizing I will never compete as a Monarch again was devastating. I am thankful for the much needed rest, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I will never get the chance again to work towards school records, my personal bests, and running with the sweetest girls and best coaches.
How did you get into track and field and what did you like about it?
I got into track my junior year, after two years of being talked to by my soccer coach, who is also the track coach, Darin Lasky. I am so glad I finally gave in, and gave the sport a shot. The thing that I like the most about track is, for the most part, it is an individual sport. You determine the amount of success you desire. If you want to win, it is all up to you. The effort put in at practice, on the weekends, with meal prep, and with your attitude. It really teaches you the value of hard work and discipline.
What made track and field at Exeter a special experience?
Track and field at Exeter was special because I was coached by people that truly have a heart for the sport. They pour their heart and soul into everything they do and say. It is truly a blessing to walk out to practice everyday knowing you are going to be coached and mentored by those that truly care for you. I got to run with some of the kindest people who pushed me, even when I was having an off day. It is a community and that is something I will never forget.
What was your most memorable track and field moment at Exeter?
The most memorable moment I experienced while doing track and field at Exeter was when we won the girls 4x100m and 4x400m relays at our CSL (Central Sequoia League) meet. We won them both in the same night. The experience I got with my three other teammates and my coaches was an absolute blast.
One or two people that helped with your track and field development?
One person that has helped me in my track and field development would be Coach Darin Lasky. Winning may be important, but to him, it isn’t the most important thing. Our physical, emotional, and mental health come first. Having a coach that truly cares for me, outside of track, means the world. He is probably best known for saying ¨It is what it is.¨ He has taught me to control the controllables. Some things are simply just out of my control, so we keep moving forward and we work hard regardless. These lessons go far beyond running and that to me is crucial in life. In track, he helped me find something I am passionate about, and he never gave up on me. I am extremely grateful for him, and for all he does with the Exeter track and field team.
What has life been like during the pandemic?
Life for me during the pandemic has been great. I finally have gotten the chance to slow down and enjoy my family. This extra time has truly been a blessing, considering I will be leaving my little sisters and my parents in the fall. I also have enjoyed finding new ways to workout and do some of my favorite hobbies, considering I rarely have free time outside of quarantine.
Here’s what Exeter track and field coach Darin Lasky says about Julia:
Julia Nelsen began her second and final senior season, coming off a broken foot from soccer and volleyball. It took us 3 years to convince Julia that track and field would be beneficial to her other sports. In her first season, she was our fastest sprinter in the 100, 200, and 400m. She has a raw talent in track that is yet untapped. Her drive in the classroom and in life led her to signing with Vanguard to run track after one season. Though the season was cut short, Julia was well on her way to a successful season and a berth to the CIF East Area Meet. She is an incredible young lady with deep family roots, deep seeded love of her Faith, a desire to help others , and we could not be more proud of her.