Julia Isham Cross Country

Luis Martsolf, Writer

There comes a point in an ambitious person’s life, when they are not competing with anyone else anymore except themselves. They are striving everyday to be the best version of themself and leave the biggest mark one can. Julia Isham, senior, is truly in a lane of her own, and she’s not slowing down for anyone. 

Recently, Julia Isham announced her commitment to Loyola University for cross country, a D1 school with one of the best programs in the country, who recently sweeped Team Titles at the Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships. Joining the program next fall will be an utterly insane achievement for the Strongsville native. Though, Julia’s story does not end there. From managing an active mental health awareness page, to expressing her creativity through the school newspaper, Julia can be seen as a role model for any new student and motivates her fellow classmates daily.

Julia currently holds the school’s 3200m record at a time of 10:48.46. Later, Julia placed 3rd in the 2022 girls’ division 1 state meet as a Junior and broke her previous record.


What advice would you give to an incoming highschooler in Strongsville?

“I would say not to stress the small stuff, teachers are really chill and understanding when taking care of mental health first. One thing to make sure of is time management, that’s one thing I didn’t do well with freshman year was making sure I had enough time to do stuff without procrastinating and making it super stressful.”


What would your 8th grade self think about you now?

“I think she would be shocked, I was a really big introvert and kind of stayed to myself. Now I want to talk with and meet new people. I’m definitely more outgoing. Also, I’m not a nervous wreck when I get on the start line; I used to hyperventilate and cry in the locker room, so I think she would be proud of me but also be shocked.”


What is one tip for working on yourself while being an athlete?

“I really prioritize my mental health when it comes to that, I used to compare myself a lot to other athletes and other people. Now I’m starting to focus on me and what works for me in terms of school and boundaries.”

“I need to know when I need rest and when *Sometimes that means not going to a sporting event because I have a meet the next day, it’s about sacrifice and working on yourself behind the scenes. Doing the extra rolling as an athlete but also staying on top of my schoolwork and making sure I take mental health days. It all branches out to me being a better athlete and person.”


What is one piece of knowledge you plan on taking with you to Chicago?

“One thing is probably just to be aware of everything. A lot of the coaches and professors I got to meet there said it definitely will be a transition and I will have to use my time management skills to stay on my toes, especially because I will be doing a lot more with my running while also doing clubs and academics so it’s finding a balance.”


The Strongsville superstar plans on pursuing a major in journalism and continuing her journey as a mental health advocate. We are all excited to see where Julia’s ambitions take her and with a whole city riding alongside, there are no goals she won’t be able to run down. Make sure to follow Julia’s instagram @personbeforesport to keep up with her journey and get  insightful knowledge on how to prioritize mental health first!