Hurdling and high jumping used to be Julia Ryan’s go-to events on the track and field scene. At the end of her freshman year at Juanita High, a coach asked her to try some throws and she’s never looked back.
Ryan, now a junior, smiles when recalling the switch after finishing her third event of the day — the shot put — at Lake Washington High on a windy April 3 evening.
“Ever since then, I’ve just loved doing throws,” said Ryan, who became interested in the heptathlon, which features the shot and javelin. Once she started unleashing solid throws and notching personal records, “I just really went into a groove, and (was) like, ‘Yeah, this is the fit for me.’”
Things continue to work out for Ryan, who is presently first in 3A KingCo and District 2 in the discus with a PR of 114 feet, 1 inch; and first in 3A KingCo in the shot with a PR of 36 feet, seven inches.
On the javelin front, Ryan set a season record with a powerful throw of 86-7 on April 3. She set her PR of 92-4 last year.
Ryan, who finished 13th at state last season in the discus and shot, said that after working on a specific technique during practice, “when you go into competition, you don’t have to think, your body just knows it. With throws, it’s so short. Your throw lasts about five seconds, so I definitely just have to block out everything and be like, ‘Oh, I know how to throw this, I know the form.’”
The Reporter asked Ryan a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think as I mentioned, my mental (focus). My coaches definitely have said, you have to just get past that. Getting into the ring, you think of nothing, you just go. Don’t think — throw.
What’s a special skill that you’d like to learn?
A handstand. I know a lot of people do handstands, sometimes when they have free time at practice and they’ll be doing cartwheels and stuff like that.
What’s something unique about yourself that somebody wouldn’t know about?
I also do soccer and basketball. Since freshman year, I’ve done three sports.
What does it take to be a three-sport athlete and do it well?
It takes a lot of focus. Since I’m not a year-round basketball player or year-round soccer, I really have to focus in on that season. It’s also just a lot of knowing when I have time to do stuff because there’s also schoolwork on top of it. It’s just a lot of time management.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
What super power would you like to have?