Athlete, scholar, leader, friend, mentor – just some of the words that faculty and students use to describe the subject of our alumni spotlight, Julia Aurignac, Class of 2018. She was all of these and much more. Read on as News from the Nest takes a look at where one of our recent graduates is now and what she has learned along the way. But first a quick look back at Julia’s time at THS.
The Ultimate Impact Player
Julia’s life at THS epitomized the phrase “impact player” – her presence on the court, the field, in the classroom and around campus made an impact on others.
She was an outstanding athlete on the court and on the track and was a great example of a scholar – athlete. Here are some of her athletic accomplishments as an Eagle.
- Four-year letter winner in both track & field and basketball
- 2018 Templeton High School Female Athlete of the Year.
- 2018 300-meter hurdles league champion.
- CIF-SS Qualifier from 2015-2018 as a member of the track & field team.
- In basketball, earned first team all-league 2016-2018.
- Voted as the basketball team captain all three years.
- Member of the academic honor roll from 2015-18.
- Holds the school record as part of the 4×100 relay team.
- 2nd fastest time in school history – 100 meters, 200 meters, and 300 meters
“Simply put, Julia is a fierce competitor every coach wants on their team. She cannot be intimidated and she plays fearlessly no matter the opponent or challenge. She is admired for her work ethic and is an exceptional role model for both male and female athletes, on and off the court.” Lindsay Franklin, THS Athletic Director
Julia was also a vital part of the FFA program during her years at THS. Her leadership in word and deed were important while she was here but she left a last imprint on the program as well.
“Julia did an excellent job as an innovator in our chapter. Many of the meeting activities we enjoy today were from her ideas. She did an excellent job putting in the extra mile as an officer, student, and Parli Pro President. She was an inspiration to get involved in our chapter and many current members today still look up to her achievements.” Brandi Bognuda, FFA Advisor
She was also involved in the life of the school and her participation made a difference as she lived out what it meant to be an Eagle.
“You could always count on Julia to be at an event and to make it better because she was there. She was always “All In”. Whether she was playing the role of a “victim” in FNL’s Every 15 minutes”, dressing up for “Western Day” or wearing a cape and going crazy on the sidelines of a game you could always count on her to bring life, energy and spirit. She truly made a difference on campus”. Matt Macfarlane, Director of Activities.
Move to Baylor Brings About Changes
Julia is now in her second year at Baylor University and a member of their NCAA Division 1 Track Team that will kick off their season this weekend.
News From the Nest recently checked in with Julia and asked her to share some of what she has learned over these past two years. The following is the fruit of that interview:
News From the Nest (NFTN): What events are you planning on running this year as part of the Baylor Track team?
Julia: This season I plan on competing in the open 400 meter during the indoor season starting in January and the 400 meter hurdles during outdoor season starting in April.
NFTN: Share with us your experience last year as a member of the team?
Julia: When I chose Baylor I had no intentions to run track. It was with the encouragement from a few of my high school coaches that I decided to reach out to the 400m hurdle coach at Baylor; I was scared to reach out. I decided that if I never reached out I’d never know if I could do it. In September of 2018 I met with the Baylor coaches who allowed me walk onto the team and shortly after I began practicing.
Last season was not easy for me at all but I felt the love and support from my teammates that created the family bond amongst the team. Our women’s team motto is Proverbs 27:17 which states “iron sharpens iron”.
Being part of the team was very intimidating at first. I soon learned that I was running with some of the best track athletes in college track. But I was there to train just like them and was asking them to push me to be my best.
NFTN: Going from running track at Templeton to running in a NCAA Division 1 program had to be a big adjustment. Tell us what that was like.
Julia: The practices are quite demanding both physically and mentally. You are no longer competing with people who are out there to just have fun or who’s parents made them go out, but with people who have also been training most of their life to compete at this level (most of them who have been running since they were 5 years old and ran on club track teams or unattached at big meets across the country). Of course I did not do this I did not start the 300H in high school until my junior year but I know some olympic athletes that did not start running competitively till their freshman year of high school.
There is definitely a lot more support and resources for college athletes like I state below. This makes a big difference both in the classroom and on the track. In the classroom I get all the classes I want and the times I want so that I can practice with the team in the afternoon. There is also a lot of tutoring resources offered. On the track we have a team doctor, trainer, chiropractor and massage therapist that all help with the rehab side of track. The coaches all performed at a high level and know a lot about training and technique to make us the best athletes we can possibly be both physically mentally and spiritually.
The workouts are much harder and so is the competition not only in meets but also in practice. Running at Baylor I have ran with state champions in high school, olympians and people who are professionally running for Nike. This is very intimidating but like I said the only person you can really beat everyday is yourself the day before.
NFTN: As the season is quickly approaching describe for us what a normal day for you is like? (Academic workload, studying, practices/workout time etc.)
Julia: A normal day for me is waking up at 7 am eating breakfast and getting ready for class at 8. I don’t live too far from campus but I drive there everyday and park then walk to class. Each day this semester I have class from 8-1 everyday. Ill usually pack myself a lunch and a snack to have in that time since I don’t have time to go buy lunch on campus. I have practice at 3 each day and I like to get there an hour before because I can get in the hot tub, stretch and roll out before practice to prevent injury. Then I have practice from 3- 4:30 at each practice we start by warming up doing a few block starts then get into the workout. 3 days a week after practice we have weights from 4:30-5:30. I usually have dinner around 6 then do homework form 6- whenever I’m done. One of my goals for this semester is to be as proactive and diligent in my school work so that I can get a good amount of sleep each night (very hard to do in college).
The school work is much harder than it was in high school and good study habits are a necessity. Yes, you actually have to read the book for some classes and take detailed notes and some classes all you’ll have that counts for the final grade is tests. The thing I’ve learned is for foreign language classes make a Quizlet it helps a lot with remembering what words mean and conjugation, always pay attention in class and take notes on what the teacher is saying and finally read, highlight and interact with the book and take detailed notes in the classes your professor tells you to read the book because they will not tell you all the answers to the tests in their lecture.
NFTN: What are some goals you have set for yourself for the upcoming season?
Julia: My big goal for the upcoming season is to PR in the 400 meter hurdles and the open 400 meter.
I may not be able to compete with all of the people at practice or meets, but I can always compete with myself. Everyday my goal is to be a better athlete and teammate in doing this I know I’m not only benefit me but everyone around me as well.
I also have goals that will help me reach my PR goals. I have a goal to get more sleep, make wiser eating choices and to get straight A’s in school.
“I went from knowing every single person I went to school with to knowing no one except two roommates. It was hard at first for me to put myself out there. I soon learned I was not alone in this change in life and made many good friends that will last a lifetime.” Julia Aurignac on the changes she felt going from Templeton to Baylor
NFTN: Outside of track and athletics what have been the biggest life changes you have had to make and what have you learned about yourself?
Julia: The biggest change for me was moving from a small school in California to a big university in Texas. I went from knowing every single person I went to school with to knowing no one except two roommates. It was hard at first for me to put myself out there. I soon learned I was not alone in this change in life and made many good friends that will last a lifetime.
I also learned that the friends I’ve made in college are more like family because we are there for each other through everything even when your family cannot be there.
NFTN: What is something you have experienced that you didn’t expect?
Julia: I experienced a lot of failure and discouragement. Practice after practice I couldn’t make the times assigned by the coaches and wasn’t PRing in time trials. But I persisted I held myself to finish every workout no matter how bad it looked because I owed it to myself.
I also received a lot of support from my fellow teammates, coaches, athletic trainers, weight trainers, nutritionists, academic advisors and most importantly my friends and family to make sure that I could and can be ready to perform both mentally and physically on and off the track.
Last season with the transition from moving to Texas and beginning training late I needed the support from all of these people to encourage me to keep going and pushing me. Two months into training which was about December for me last year I had shin splints, I had never been hurt in a sport till then. I needed the support of my coaches and athletic training staff to make adjustments to workouts and rehabbing my shins.
“The inborn fondness to work harder than everyone around you even if you are not the best player or runner is something that no one can coach you to do. Talent can be coached but hard work cannot.” Julia Aurignac on advice she’d give give to high school athletes
NFTN: What advice would you give to high school athletes?
Julia: The advice that I would give to a high school athlete would be to enjoy your time as a high school athlete and appreciate the opportunities you’ve been given; growing up both in sport and in life because you never know when that practice and knowledge will be needed again whether it is getting a scholarship to a D1 school or playing an intramural.
Hard work. This might sound a bit clique but no one can coach you to have desire to work hard. The inborn fondness to work harder than everyone around you even if you are not the best player or runner is something that no one can coach you to do. Talent can be coached but hard work cannot. So keep working hard and put in the little extra effort because not everyone has that.
In high school before my senior season of Basketball my assistant coach Mike Sudbrink told me to make a list of my dreams for the season stating that “ dreams written down become goals that one can attain. If you visualize it daily you are reminded what you are trying to achieve”. I wrote my goals on the mirror in my bedroom for both basketball and track season and I accomplished every single one of my goals those two seasons. To this day I still have my goals written on my mirror in my bedroom in college and each day I work hard to get closer to attaining those goals. As a high school student, I challenge you to make a list of goals you have for in the classroom and in your sport to see what you can achieve.
Thank you Julia for the example you continue to set for others. Your humility, hard work, and dedication to your team and to being the best version of yourself remind us that ability is important but so is character.