Donnelly Dominates in State Cross Country


Senior Julia Donnelly running at the Missouri State Cross Country Championships in Columbia, Missouri on Friday, November 4.

On Friday, Nov. 4, the Missouri State Cross Country Championships was held in Columbia, Missouri. Senior Julia Donnelly placed second out of over 160 runners, completing with a time of 18:52. Donnelly has shown commitment and dedication for cross country as she has been involved with it for five years.

“For Washington, I’ve been running cross country since the seventh grade,” said Donnelly. “I started in fourth grade running just Mondays and Thursdays … in the fall season with my sixth grade teachers who were wanting to do a running club, and that’s kind of where it started.”

Even when Donnelly was just starting out with cross country, she has always seen it as an outlet to get her mind off of troubles in her life. 

“I’ve always had [cross country]. It’s always been there. Like, mentally it’s just a great escape from things and running is very helpful with that,” said Donnelly.

Although Donnelly had an incredible final season of cross country, she had to persevere through injuries in the beginning of the season.

“I couldn’t run at all during the summer because I had a stress fracture from track … I just couldn’t train, I started training right when practice started which is insane,” said Donnelly. “It was a disadvantage but you know, it is what it is and I’m happy with how I did.”

With having setbacks such as having a late start to practicing, she still was able to make it to state and earn second place. Placing at state gave Donnelly a new perspective to cross country.

“I wanted first. So, it was a little disheartening … It really taught me like to trust my coaches more,” said Donnelly. “Everyone was excited for me and like, honestly, it’s not about like the rewards. I don’t care about the medal, It’s just like a fun sport to do.”

Donelly’s dedication to her sport allowed her to compete in state several times throughout high school. Although this year she had a new experience, being the only girl from the Washington Cross Country team to attend the state championships.

“So, my first three years, I qualified individually by myself all through all four years throughout high school, but I’ve never not been with a team. So, this is my first year without a team, which … I [didn’t] like it, I like them being there. It’s nice having the support and they’re just like a family,” said Donnelly.

Spending lots of time practicing and competing with her team, Donnelly has made strong, life long connections with her teammates.

“[Relationship with teammates] is why I always encourage people to do sports because like the family you find within sports is just insane,” said Donnelly. “I want these people in my life for the rest of my life, like we talked about how they’re gonna be in our weddings.”

Donnelly found a lot of benefits from cross country throughout her six years of competing, to making friends from other schools and winning second place in state. The experience left her with no regrets overall. 

“[Its] definitely the best thing that I’ve ever done in my life,” said Donnelly. “This is the best choice I’ve ever made in my life and I don’t regret any of it.”