The Student Spotlight: An Interview with Julia Muller

By Connect-Bridgeport Staff on December 03, 2017 via

Editor's Note: This was a submitted piece by Bridgeport High School Journalism student, Lilah Kimble, and was not assigned by
Submitted by Lilah Kimble 
The Student Spotlight is a new feature of interviews with notable Bridgeport High School students.
Julia Muller is a junior who recently won seventh place at the WVSSAC State Cross Country meet for the A/AA girls race with a time of 19 minutes and 47 seconds. In her sophomore track season, Julia won first in the 1600 meter, third in the 1300 meter, and fifth in the 800 meter at the state track meet. This past cross country season, Julia broke her personal record with a 5K time of 19 minutes and 28 seconds at the Chick-Fil-A Invitational in Mineral Wells, WV— her time is four seconds away from alumna Morgan Phillips’s record for BHS girls cross country (19 minutes and 25 seconds). Julia was also the first place runner for the girls at the Harrison County cross country meet.
Q: When did you start running?
A: I started running in middle school when I did track. I was a sprinter and I didn’t know what I was doing, but [the coaches] put me in the 800 meter at the end of that season and I did a lot better. After that year, I started focusing on distance.
Q: Have you always been a runner?
A: No, I was actually a cheerleader. I started cheer when I was five years old as a flag cheerleader, and then gymnastics, All Stars, middle school, and one year of high school cheer. I quit it after my freshman year.
Q: Why did you quit cheerleading?
A: My freshman track season I was on the 4x4 and 4x8 relay teams that both won first place at the state track meet, and I had pretty good times in my individual events too. I realized that I could improve over the next four years if I continued on with running, which is why I did cross country last year rather than cheer. You can go somewhere with running, but you can’t really go anywhere with cheerleading.
Q: How did your first season of cross country go?
A: I didn’t do very well— I just barely made the top seven on the team to go to states, and then I ran a 21 minute 21 second race, and I was 30th place. It wasn’t a strong year, but I got better
Q: How did you improve from barely making varsity to becoming number one on the team?
A: I ran through the off season, which is really what makes a big difference. Throughout last summer, I ran everyday and tried to get a lot of mileage. I think that that’s what really helped me improve.
Q: Do you have any cross country race strategies?
A: Once the race starts, I try to pick a person that is in front of me. I need to stay with them and then if I pass them, I just pick a new person. I try to pick each runner off individually. If I can stay with someone until the end, then I can pass them at the finish line. The sprint at the end is my strongest part of the race.
Q: Do you ever doubt why you run?
A: Sometimes I get discouraged during the race and I wonder why I’m spending my time and energy running when I could easily drop out. I’ve fortunately always been able to get past that, and normally end up doing pretty well [in the race]. At the end, I always realize that it wasn’t that bad and my love for running comes out on top.
Q: What do you think about when you’re running during practice?
A: Whenever I’m running alone, I usually listen to music; but if I’m not listening to music, I try to meditate and clear my mind— I just feel the run and visualize my goals. When I’m running with people, we usually talk to each other, especially if it’s an easy run. If it’s a hard workout, then we don’t talk as much, but it’s not like an awkward silence, we’re just running.
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to when you’re running?
A: I listen to a wide variety of music. I just try to find something upbeat, not sad. I normally listen to Running Radio on Pandora.
Q: What events do you run in track?
A: The 800, 1600, and 3200 meter, and the 4x800 relay.
Q: How has your track training contributed to your success as a cross country athlete?
A: The speed that I have built up from running on the track has really helped me with racing, specifically at the end. The sprint at the end is one of my strongest assets when I’m cross country racing.
Q: What do you like about cross country over track?
A: I like how close the cross country team is and how it’s more of a family. We are all kind of weird and quirky; I guess you have to be to want to run such long distances.
Q: What do you like about track over cross country?
A: Track is much more individualized and competitive. You can really focus on your improvement because every track is the same.
Q: What are your major goals for your running career before you graduate from BHS in 2019?
A: I would like to win the 1600 meter again, the 800 meter, and 3200 meter at track states. I would also like to be in the top five next year at cross country states. I’m aiming high with my goals.
Q: Do you have a goal set for a specific time to beat?
A: I want to run faster than a 19 minute 25 second cross country race, because that’s the school record for girls.
Q: Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
A: The night before a race I always take an ice bath. I think that started freshman track season.
Q: Do you do any other sports?
A: I swim on Bridgeport’s swim team. Swimming is nice because it takes the impact off of your knees, and I don’t have to run as much in the off season. It supplements mileage without being hard on my body.
Q: How do you maintain strong academics with training?
A: Academics are very important to me. I try to avoid procrastination with my work, but sometimes it can be difficult. I guess I just try to get everything done and not waste time.
Q: What have been your favorite classes in high school so far?
A: Freshman year, my favorite class was Algebra I with Mrs. Ramsey. Sophomore year, I really liked both Biology with Mr. Broslawsky and Honors English with Mrs. Lohmann.
Q: Is there a specific area that you like to run in Bridgeport?
A: Water Street because it’s the only flat way to get away from the school. It’s either Water Street or the hill on Johnson Avenue, so I always choose Water Street.
Q: What are your plans for after high school? Is running in the picture?
A: I want to be a nutritionist and hopefully use that with athletics. I’m not yet sure what college, but I would definitely like to run wherever I go.
Q: Advice for younger runners?
A: Just stick with it— even if it seems awful and that you hate it. When I first ran a 5K, I really thought that I hated running and that I would never run again. That didn’t happen. If you stick with it, you will improve and see results.
Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Ben Queen from

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