Julia Schumacher is no stranger to stiff competition when it comes to racing, competing on one of the best middle-distance girls' teams in the United States. Racing with nationally ranked athletes like now Arkansas Razorback Joy Ripslinger, Schumacher feels lucky to be a part of the Assumption High School cross country and track teams. "There is no doubt in my mind that I️ wouldn't be the runner I️ am today without having my teammates be able to push me in practice every day. I️ also owe a HUGE thank you to my coaches for building me to be able to compete at this level."
Schumacher first began running at the age of 3 in the local Junior Bix, but also trained her wheels in things like soccer and the mile fitness test at school, until 7th grade when she was able to join the Mississippi Valley Track Club and start training. "Running was something I knew I always wanted to do since my parents are avid runners themselves." Not only has Schumacher followed in her parents footsteps to become an avid runner, but a State Champion and Drake Relays Champion to boot.
"The moment I won my first State Championship freshman year in the 3000m, I knew I wanted to compete in college." With so many great performances to show, Schumacher had a tough decision ahead of her when it came to picking a college. After taking an official visit to Iowa State and Grand Canyon University, as well as the option to take visits to Marquette, Iowa, and Miami (Ohio), Schumacher knew immediately what her decision was. "Between the beautiful campus in a part of the country I haven't been exposed to and the fun team atmosphere, it was a hard offer to pass up. What really sealed the deal for me though was their coach, Sara Slattery. I think she's absolutely amazing and I can't wait to be a part of her program. The program couldn't be a more perfect fit between the coaches, the athletes, the size, and the caliber." Schumacher knew she was meant to be a Lope.
Coach Slattery is certainly a high caliber coach, competing as a professional distance runner herself over the past decade or so, including multiple qualifiers to US and World Championships. She has coached eight WAC Conference Championship teams, 16 new indoor & outdoor track & field records, and 25 Academic All-WAC Awards. As a part of the Western Athletic Conference, Schumacher will come in as an excellent recruit to build on for future WAC Championships and even NCAA bids. "At GCU I️ hope improve as a runner, continuing to get faster as well as help the team compete for conference championships for both Cross Country and Track. Being able to compete at the National Championships will always be a dream of mine as well."
But before she has the chance to compete at the NCAA Div I level, Schumacher has one last outdoor track season to complete as a Knight, with hopes of nabbing a 6th consecutive State Title for her team, but also clock some personal PR's as well.
There's no telling what Schumacher can accomplish while training in Phoenix, all she knows is she has one promise to keep for her running career. "I've promised my mom after my collegiate running career is over that I️ would run a marathon with her. Aside from that I️ plan on attending Dental School after college in which I️ intend on continuing to run recreationally. Running is such a big part of my life. It is something I️ will always love."