CEDAR RAPIDS — Grit. Determination. Perseverance.
These three words served as a motto for the Cedar Rapids Xavier girls’ shuttle hurdle relay team that placed 10th at the state track and field meet last month in Des Moines.
These words were the heart and soul of the relay consisting of juniors Aubrey Jones, Julia Shoger, Samantha Triplett and Brianna Yanga this past season as they ran a season-best of 1 minute, 8 seconds during preliminaries at the state meet.
For Shoger, this relay meant more than running and three stepping. The first-year hurdler found a love for not only the race, but the team as well.
“The relay team became really good friends with each other these past few months,” Shoger said. “I do not know if I could have gotten as far this year without them.
“Everyone is supportive and optimistic. They have helped me so much throughout the season.”
The shuttle hurdle relay was not the only race Shoger ran at the state meet. She was a part of the 400-meter relay and the sprint medley relay.
“I was so blessed to have the opportunity to run multiple races and compete against other athletes with my teammates,” Shoger said. “It was incredible to know my teammates better throughout the season and spend time with them during the weekend in-between races.”
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Hurdle coach Korey Johnson has been watching this shuttle hurdle relay evolve throughout the season. Shoger joined the relay last summer after she decided to learn the basics of hurdling for her junior track season.
“Julia had never hurdled when the season ended last year and she made it a goal to figure out how to hurdle this year,” Johnson said. “Julia was definitely the one to be in the weight room as long as we allowed her to be to get her whole workout in.”
Shoger’s time in the offseason was not to only get her ready for hurdles, but to get her ready to lead by example.
“Julia has been a great asset to the team the entire year,” Johnson said. “She is a leader on the track team and always does her best. I am thrilled she was able to help the shuttle relay qualify for state, her hard work has paid off this season.”
With this season over, another countdown has started for Shoger. Her senior season is less than a year away and, with hopes of repeating her success on the track for next year, the offseason already has begun.