Senior Swan Song: Julea Trank-Greene

Name: Julea Trank-Greene

School: Niwot High School

Q) What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment?

The most memorable moment of my track and field career was during the Boys 4A 4x400 finals at the 2019 State Championships. This race was the final factor in winning a team state title for the boys and girls teams.

I remember standing at the top of the second curve with a few of my teammates, cheering on the 4x400 team as they reached the final stretch of the race. It was the last leg of the 4x400; it was neck and neck.

My teammate Jack Kenkel was chasing down the first-place team, and the race ended with him throwing himself across the finish line. At this moment I had no idea that Niwot had won the race because it was so close, but when I saw Niwot's name appear first on the scoreboard, my teammates and I sprinted to the rest of our team to embrace the win.

Watch That Race: Niwot Boys Win State 4x4 With A Dive

Not only did our boy's team win the team state title, but they also won the 4x400 as well. This will always be the most memorable moment for me because at that point in time, through all the pain of training, we finally reached our goal of winning team titles on both the boys and girls teams.

Q) Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

Although I have had the opportunities to race against some of the best athletes, I would consider my teammates as my biggest competition.

When I joined Niwot Track, I was not serious about the sport, but the environment and competition that I experienced and continue to experience every day only inspired me to work harder and push myself. It is a blessing to have some of my biggest competition right by my side at practice.

Niwot Track is built on a foundation of support and hard work. Without my teammates, I would not have any of the success that I have earned. My teammates push me in every workout, every race, and every practice, no matter the circumstances.

Q) What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment in high school track was winning the 4x200 at the 2019 State Championships.

It did not become a goal of mine until my sophomore year to win a state title. It was my first year running at state my sophomore year, and I was on the state runner-up team for the girls 4A 4x200. Although we got second place, I was still proud of the outcome, but it became a major goal of mine to win a state title, specifically in the 4x200.

Throughout the 2019 track season, I was experiencing a great deal of success in the 4x200. In almost every meet, we won the 4x200m relay. This was super exciting for me because my goal of winning the 4x200 at state was transforming into reality.

Watch That Race: Niwot Girls Win State 4x200

At state, I was as nervous as I was excited to race. I knew that we were ranked first in the 4x200, but I was still nervous because we were surrounded by outstanding competition. After prelims, I was confident in our team and I was so excited for finals. When I saw my teammate cross the finish line first, I was almost brought to tears by excitement; my dream was finally a reality.

Q) If you could do it all over again what would you change about your career in high school?

If I could change anything about my high school career, I wouldn't take any moment for granted. Due to the current pandemic, most of my season has been canceled, and this was heartbreaking for me.

In this moment of fear and confusion, I cannot help but feel like I took my three years for granted because I just assumed I would always have my final senior season. I have always been grateful for the moments that I have experienced due to Track and Field, but if I knew that it was my last chance at running, I would have worked harder than ever.

Q) What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

The biggest obstacle that I have had to overcome in track and field is my performance anxiety. As a freshman, I lacked confidence and I could only attribute sports with the fear of failure. My anxiety stopped me from reaching my peak performance at practice and during races.

My experience with anxiety in track was painful, and the hardest obstacle that I've overcome, but I cannot help but be grateful for it. Even though I felt hopeless during workouts, I always felt bolstered with support from my teammates and coaches, who saw past my anxiety and saw my potential.

From day one, my coach told me that he saw my talent and hard work and supported me through my struggles. Through the community and culture of Niwot Track and Field, I've been able to re-channel my anxiety into setting goals and with the amazing support system that I had, I was able to rebuild my mental strength.

I still struggle with some forms of performance anxiety, but I have continued to apply the strategies I developed during my freshman year. I learned how to embrace my obstacles and used them as an opportunity to grow. I can now excel in track with confidence and joy, instead of anxiety and low self-esteem. I never gave up on myself, and I showed up every single day, despite the anxiety.

Q) What will you miss the most?

I am going to miss my coaches and teammates the most. I love the sport of track and field and the excitement that it brings, but track and field has brought me more than that. It has brought me a second family. A family that has supported me through everything.

Because of track, I have made lifelong friends and connections with athletes across the state. The reason why I continue to run is not just because of how much I love the sport, but it is because I love my teammates and enjoy my time spent with them.

Every teammate that I have been blessed to train with has impacted my career and has been crucial in my success. My teammates have taught me everything from patience to dedication to supporting one another.

My coaches have believed in me since day one, and continue to support me throughout any struggles or setbacks that I have experienced. On this new journey that I will begin next year, I will feel lost without my second family, but I am grateful for every moment and memory.

Q) What advice would you give to younger athletes?

The biggest piece of advice I would give to younger athletes is to trust the process. Track and Field is grueling and requires a great deal of patience.

If any of the new athletes saw me as a freshman, they would be astounded to how slow I was. Although at times I felt hopeless because I was not seeing any improvements, I remained patient and finally started seeing results.

What I try to remind the younger athletes on my team is that although it can be easy to compare yourself to the top athletes on the team, we all started somewhere and learned to trust the process.

Q) What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

My coach is the reason why I have the confidence I have today. Like I have said, Coach Maurice Henriques has supported me since day one.

I remember my first meet at Niwot, it was a small scrimmage between school across the district, and Coach Mo told me that I was going to play a big role on this team. Those words have stuck with me for the past four years, and continue to push me to my goals.

To have a coach that believed in me was special, and his belief has transformed my life. Before Niwot Track and Field, I had no plans to run in college, but Coach Mo told me as a freshman, who ran a 30-second 200m dash, that I would run D1 in college. His encouragement, in addition to the support from my other coaches, has inspired me to work harder and reach my goals.

Coach Mo has not just helped me through track and field, but without him, I would not have been in contact with college coaches. Coach Mo supported my decision to focus on academics and track in college and helped open doors for me.

Q) What are your college plans?

I will either attend the University of Colorado, Boulder at the Leeds School of Business majoring in Business and Finance or the University of South Carolina at the Darla Moore School of Business majoring in International Business. I plan to continue my track and field career in college, but I am uncommitted at the moment.

Q) Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would like to say thank you to all of my teammates, coaches, and competitors.

To all my teammates, you have given me fierce competition every day at practice, and incredible support. To every athlete that I have raced, you have helped form me into the athlete I am today.

To my coaches, thank you for supporting me since day one. I know that I was quite a lot to handle as a freshman, but you have all stood by me, no matter the circumstance. You have all taught me the importance of patience, loyalty, grit, and mindset. T

hank you, Coach Mo, for always believing in me, thank you, Coach Wally, for giving me the most amazing pep-talks, thank you, Coach Jenkins, for bringing out my competitive side, and thank you, Coach Deyja, for always inspiring me to work harder. I would also like to thank my family for supporting my track dreams since I ran at CARA track when I was younger.

Q) Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Our world has been thrown into uncertainty, but remain hopeful. Continue to work hard and appreciate how special it is to have the opportunity to participate in track and field.