At the state track and field championships, Auburn Riverside sophomore Julia Couch put on a phenomenal performance, winning both the 1,600-meter run and the 800-meter run.
“It felt really good. My goal coming into this race was second. But I knew if I ran a smart, even-paced race, I would have a better chance,” Couch said.
As a freshman last season, she took home first in the 800M and third in the 1,600M. As a freshman, gaining that experience is super crucial for her development as a track star.
After the first lap of the 800, Couch was about as middle of the pack as you could be. But the final 300M of that race was all Julia.
She overtook five to six runners, including the race leader down the final stretch.
“I just slowly worked my way up and that last 250M I decided to go for it. My legs were kind of burning, but I just got going,” said Couch after the race.
Even though she wasn’t in the front of the pack, she trusted herself and her strategy for the entire race.
“I felt pretty confident in myself. I worked a lot on speed this season so I was confident. I knew I could outkick pretty much anybody in front of me. I got first place and I’m happy about that,” she said.
Couch is one of very few underclassmen in the 800M and 1,600M races. To have three state titles in two years is extremely impressive to do.
“It feels good, and it makes me excited to see what I can do next year,” Couch said.
In the 1,600M, Couch had a similar pace and picked it up right when she needed to. She improved on her 2022 state time and place moving from third (4:59.57) to first (4:52.04).