Julia Yang Nutley High senior, Track and Field

“Julia Yang will have won seven varsity letters in Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. She holds the school’s indoor, 9’0”, and outdoor, 9’6” school records in the girls’ pole vault. She is very dedicated to the sport and event. She goes out of her way to train during the winter in an event that is logistically difficult to do in the Winter time. In addition to leading our pole vaulters, she is also one of our top sprinter/hurdlers on the team. A top-level student at NHS, carrying a 3.8+ GPA, Julia plans on attending Washington University in Missouri in the fall.”
— Gerry Ryan

How did you get interested in pole vaulting?
I started pole vaulting during spring track in my freshman year. I had not really heard of the sport until I saw other kids pole vaulting at practice, and I thought it looked really fun. So I decided to try it out and ended up loving it.

What’s a typical routine when you’re preparing for a meet?
The night before a meet I try to get as much sleep as possible. One of the most important things for me is to not overthink before a competition. Pole vault is such a mental sport, and it really does not help to be nervous because then everything about the jumps will just be a little off.

Is there a big difference in jumping indoors versus outdoors?
Jumping indoors and jumping outdoors are actually very different. I prefer jumping indoors because I don’t have to worry about how the wind will affect my jumps. The smallest gust of wind can actually affect the success of a jump.

You hold the school record in pole vaulting. How did that meet unfold?
I achieved the school record at Sectionals last year, which is generally the last meet of the season. It was Memorial Day Weekend, and I remember it was very hot outside. At that point my personal record was still 8’6″, and I was not expecting to get the school record. The opening height for the competition was 9′, which I had never cleared before so I was feeling pretty discouraged. Almost miraculously, I cleared 9′ and then 9’6″, both on the first attempt, which was the school record.

During the off-season, how do you keep in shape?
I practice at a pole vault club, Apex Vaulting, all year round. A typical practice there begins with doing drills, then we do many repetitions of jumps, and we end the practice with weightlifting.

Are you participating in any other clubs or activities this year?
I am the president of National Honor Society and a member of Spanish Honor Society. I also work at a preschool, assisting in a class of 4-year-olds, and I help out in a fashion design and sewing class for kids and teenagers.

This is you last year at Nutley High. What are your post-graduation plans?
Next year I will be attending Washington University in St. Louis. I currently plan to major in statistics. I’m super excited to move on to a new stage of my life and try new things.

Could you tell us something about you that other people might be surprised to learn?
People might be surprised to learn that I used to be really into fashion. When I was younger I took design classes, which are the same classes that I help teach today. I used to make a lot of my own clothes and even made the dress that I wore to my sixth-grade graduation dance.