Sophomore Wellsboro Lady Hornets cross country runner Julia DeCamp built on her strong showing in her freshman year as a runner and continued her efforts in 2020. She led the Wellsboro girls to the Northern Tier League Large School Division best record of 8-1 on the year.
DeCamp anchored an extremely consistent lineup and recorded the 11th-best time in the NTL on the season of 22:27 and also recorded the best time for any area rnner during the District 4 AA Cross Country Championships of 23:45 which has landed her as the 2020-2021 Gazette’s Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“There were so many amazing moments from this year that will remain with me for a long time,” DeCamp said. “I really enjoyed the long free runs with my team, where we would create our own paths around town and hope the distance added up to over five miles. Districts was also an incredible experience, where we all stayed on the bus until it was our time to race and run against the freezing rain. It wasn’t fun, but it was memorable.”
During the District Meet, all of the runners in attendance had to contend with less than ideal conditions, but DeCamp was able to turn in yet another solid outing and has cemented her as one of the top runners for Wellsboro in not only this season, but for seasons to come.
DeCamp has been described by coaches as a player who demonstrates mental and emotional toughness as a runner.
These qualities are invaluable in the sport of cross country, with being able to overcome physical and mental limitations when competing, and DeCamp has stood out as a runner who is quietly intense in her approach.
“Julia is emotionally mature with a mental toughness that permits her as a young runner to be willing to put forth effort and work through fatigue, discomfort and even pain, all with a smile on her face,” Wellsboro Cross Country Head Coach John Weiner said.
As such a young runner, DeCamp has proven time and time again that she not only has the perfect temperament to be an outstanding runner, but also has the ability to back it up.During the past two seasons, DeCamp overcame injuries, missed her freshman season of Districts and had to rehab herself back to full strength heading into this year.
Even with these setbacks she was able to get herself back to competing at a high level.
“She was not ultimately discouraged by a major injury that prevented her from running Districts last year, going through a long rehab to return this spring. Then, she puts in consistent efforts at practice and meets this year, listening to her body throughout the rigors of the season to peak at the right time,” Weiner said. “She was looking forward to her return to NTL’s and her confidence showed in her performance that day which she then carried over to districts in less than ideal conditions two weeks later.”
DeCamp suffered her injury during the NTL Meet this past season, and showed true grit and determination in finishing the race anyways, and DeCamp once again made the most of her opportunity to compete on the big stage.
Her confidence as a runner showed, and DeCamp claimed a sixth place finish in NTL Invitational with a time of 22:27.3 and was the top area runner finisher during the competition.
“Although competition is not my favorite thing in the world, it does serve as a chance to improve and see how well I am doing,” DeCamp said. “This year I was quite eager to get into competing again, especially the NTL invitational where my injury occurred last year.”
Looking into the future for the sophomore runner, the coaching staff believes she will take on an expanded role as a leader.
As a runner who exudes a quiet demeanor she engulfs herself in what she’s doing which gives her an edge on some of her competition.
It’s not easy to block out the noise around you when competing, the mental and emotional maturity she exhibits affords her the ability to solely focus on the task at hand.
“It seems like when I’m outside and doing what I enjoy, all of what I am feeling temporarily goes away,” DeCamp said. “During a race, or even during practice, I like to take my mind off of the actual competition and think about other things. I like to think back at past events and ahead at future ones.”
Heading into her junior season, DeCamp is expected to step up into the leadership role of captain, and her coaching staff believes that when that time comes, she will be more than ready to fill those shoes.
“Julia is poised to be team captain and lead our girls squad. She will need to avoid injuries and strength work and good nutrition will help in the off-season,” Weiner said. “She is the perfect personality to take our team to the next step after another successful season. Someone like her can change the boundaries of what is possible, then of what is expected, and finally of what is achieved. We expect her to set her own goals higher each year and work hard to achieve them.”