USATF Pacific

Julia Bounds Profile 2009

Julia Bounds Profile 2009




©  2009 Silver Lumsdaine and Pacific Association. All rights reserved.


Pacific Association/USATF Athlete Profile 

Julia Bounds

By Silver Lumsdaine

PA/USATF Communications Intern

Photos courtesy of

Julia Bounds 2008a
When Julia Bounds crossed the finish line at the 2008 USA Track
& Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships,
held at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Virginia, tears were in
her eyes. Her feet were numb from the cold and she was spent from
her efforts. Then the 9-year-old Bantam Girls national cross country
champion spied her mom through the crowd and mouthed the
words, “I won! I won!”

Her coach, Willie Young, never had any doubts. Young, now
entering his 19th year as Head Coach and Team Manager of the
Palo Alto Lightning Track Club, had e-mailed Julia’s dad, Jay
Bounds, before the race. In that e-mail, coach Young said, “Julia’s
going to win this.”

Jay Bounds described his emotions upon seeing his daughter cross
the finish line, capturing the win in the Bantam Girls division (for
girls ages 10 and under), and earning her first national
championship title: “Pride. Awe. Amazement. I was shaking
because I was so happy for her,” he said. “She started off with a
goal to win, and put it all out there and did it.”

Julia’s time of 11 minutes, 34 seconds for the 3-kilometer course
was a scant two seconds ahead of second placer Danae Rivers of
the New Haven (Connecticut) Age Group Track Club.

Coach Young’s pre-race directions to Julia were to get out quickly
from the starting gun and avoid getting caught in a first-turn

“I told her that she had the number two best time in the country,”
Young said. “The number one person is going to be here, but on
any given day you can always beat this person, and this is your
day. You are going to do this.”

Julia Bounds in the lead of the Bantam Girls pack
at the 2009 National Junior Olympic XC
When the gun sounded, the 221 young athletes raced for the first turn. Julia was running in about 5th place. She gradually
moved up until she was vying for first. At the urging of coach Young, Julia shifted gears and pulled away for the win.

That made three big wins in a row for the youngster. To compete in the JO National Championship meet, Julia had to
qualify—through the Pacific Association JO Championship and USATF Region 14 JO Championship meets. She handily
topped all Bantam Girls at these qualifying events.

Despite Julia’s extraordinary achievement, Julia’s mother, Norleen Bounds, said that her daughter is just like any normal
9-year-old girl. Julia attends the Carey School in San Mateo, Calif. where she enjoys art, PE, and math.

“I like math,” Julia said, “because in my class, math usually has something to do with food.”

According to her mother, the young Bounds plays the piano, loves singing and performing, likes to write and listen to
music, and she especially loves animals. Along with two dogs, two cats, and a hamster, the Bounds family has a relatively
recent new addition—a rabbit.

Norleen Bounds promised Julia the rabbit if she qualified for last summer’s USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field
Championships. Given this incentive, Julia turned in a 1,500-meter qualifier for the big meet, where she finished 10th
among Bantam Girls. Her time was 5:34.83, despite stumbling when another racer stepped on her foot.

So, Julia earned her new rabbit, who happened to have a famous name.

 “We got the bunny at the SPCA,” Norleen Bounds said, “where they named her Cindy because she has this big black spot
that looks like (fashion model) Cindy Crawford’s mole.”

Julia displayed an aptitude for sports since she was very young.
Norleen Bounds recalls that her daughter excelled at soccer,
gymnastics, swimming, “whatever sport she could do.” When she
was 8 years old, Julia ran her first 5-kilometer race and placed 2nd
in the 12-and-under age group.

The following spring, Julia joined the Palo Alto Lightning Track
Club, a youth PA/USATF club with about 39 members, ranging
from 5 to 18-years-old.

Head Coach Willie Young focuses on complete conditioning for his
young charges, who run on and around the Stanford University
track. Practices include basic warm-up drills, stretches, and
conditioning based on where his athletes are in the competitive
season. He balances endurance training with sprint training, adding
in jump rope and push ups for coordination and upper body

“Julia gives her all. We ask for 150 percent and she does it,” coach
Young said. “She’s funny. She has a very good sense of humor. She
can focus, though, because she wants to win.”

 “She loves it,” her mother added. “She loves coach Willie and
coach Michael (assistant coach Michael Davidson). She loves being
with the team, training with the team, encouraging others. The
camaraderie, and helping others get better, helps keep her interest.

“She has days [when] she’ll go to soccer practice for an hour-and-a-
half, then to track practice for an hour-and-a-half. Then she’ll come
home and be bouncing off the walls. Very high energy.”

Julia Bounds 2008c
Julia charges to victory.
Julia’s mother, however, stresses the importance of balance. She realizes that,
at some point, her daughter will have to choose between club soccer and
higher level track competition. She said Julia already knows she may have to
drop her soccer down to a less competitive level to fit everything in.

“She’s fine with that,” said Norleen. “She clearly loves track and cross

When asked what she enjoyed most about competing at cross country JO
Nationals, Julia replied, “What’s really fun is that I get to meet different
people. I like meeting my competition and making friends. I also like the
feeling when I run, and I get to travel to different places.”

For 2009, “different places” include spring track meets in Los Angeles, where
Julia is looking forward to a return visit to Disneyland. (She loves roller
coasters.) She’s also looking forward to improving on her 10th place finish at
last year’s JO track nationals. She feels that she’s much stronger this year,
with a cross country season and solid training behind her. A top-3 finish and
All-American honors are her goals.

As lofty as these goals seem, coach Young thinks they are attainable.

“She’s a great young lady,” he said.

In fact, Julia reminds Young of another exceptional young runner.

“I can see Julia as possibly the second coming of Jordan Hasay,” he said.

Now, that’s something to shoot for.


Story published in late January, 2009

Julia Bounds 2008b
Julia Bounds, 2008 Bantam Girls
National Junior Olympic Cross
Country Champion