Flying past the competition

Issaquah cross country runner Julia David-Smith has state title on her mind

During an Issaquah girls cross country meet, odds are you’re going to find junior Julia David-Smith out in front of the pack.

Last season, David-Smith finished second at the 4A state meet with a time of 18:01.7. Early in the new season, David-Smith said she is focusing on preparing for the meets later in the season, particularly state and nationals.

“My goal is to win state and make it to (nationals), and do well at nationals,” David-Smith said. “And to break 17 (minutes). I usually set reachable goals, and once I reach that goal, I set another one.”

At the beginning of the cross country season, David-Smith said she focuses on improving her time and thinking about the more important meets later on in the season. During the race, David-Smith said she doesn’t go all out in order to save herself for the more competitive meets.

“Every dual meet and most invites, I usually just race the clock,” David-Smith said. “I imagine different scenarios in my head that could happen at state, that’s mostly what I do at all the meets.”

This season, the Issaquah girls cross country team is young, so David-Smith said she has taken on a leadership role on the team. Before races, she likes to help some of the younger girls get over their nerves by getting them excited. David-Smith said she also makes sure to help other runners strategize before the meet.

“I give a lot of advice to other girls,” David-Smith said. “Like when we walk through the course before we run it, I try to give them tips like not cutting the corners too short, going wide and avoiding certain spots that don’t look good for footing.”

The Eagles (1-0) opened up the 4A cross country season with a 26-30 victory over Newport on Sept. 17. David-Smith placed first (18:18.61) and sophomore Darwin Hanson finished second (21:05.18). The meet was at the new Issaquah High School course, which David-Smith said is a very challenging wooded course.

“I honestly love our home course,” David-Smith said. “It’s pretty cool, we have woods right in our back yard. I like courses that have a lot of turns, because it’s fun to go around. Some courses get pretty boring because it’s two loops around a gravel dirt path.”

During the spring, David-Smith also does track and field for the Eagles. Last spring, David-Smith won the state championship in the 1600 meters. David-Smith said she prefers running track compared to cross country.

“I probably have more fun in track because I like shorter distances,” David-Smith said. “It’s easier to compare times and see how you’re improving. In cross country, courses are different.”

The Reporter asked David-Smith a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

Favorite music:

Right now, I’m really vibing with country, Taylor Swift. The old albums, like “Fearless.”

Dream vacation:

My favorite place to go is Hawaii, specifically Maui. There is really good food and good surfing places.

Pet peeve:

When people tell me to do something. There’s probably a 90 percent chance I’m not going to do it.

Hidden talent:

I can hold my breath for a really long time underwater. I always win in a competition.

Julia David-Smith runs during the KingCo Cross Country Class Jamboree on Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of Julia David-Smith

Julia David-Smith runs during the KingCo Cross Country Class Jamboree on Sept. 11. Photo courtesy of Julia David-Smith