The way Jules Hislop looks at his life in track and field, he really didn’t have a choice.
His father, Ismael, was a track athlete at Rutgers University during his heyday. And his mother, Gwendolyn, was a track athlete at Utah State before transferring to Rutgers-Newark.
“It’s definitely in the family,” Jules Hislop said.
When Jules was 8-years-old, Ismael Hislop introduced him to becoming a hurdler. But they didn’t have access to any track and field equipment.
“My father took two cones and a piece of plywood,” said the Delbarton senior. “Dad taught me how to hurdle in the driveway. I guess he saw something in me. Once I began hurdling, then I started to have my true successes.”
By the time Jules arrived at Delbarton a little more than three years ago, he had the best kind of training he would know – family training.
“I was ready to go by the time I got to high school,” Hislop said.
Hislop always loved being a hurdler.
“I like the fact that it requires dedication,” Hislop said. “It’s a very technical race. There’s a constant knowledge of technique that always needs to be proved and improved.”
Hislop trained hard with his father to get ready for his final indoor season.
“It was my last year running for Delbarton, so I wanted to go out with a bang,” Hislop said. “My Dad and I increased the intensity of our workouts to build my endurance and speed.”
However, there was a big difference in the Green Wave this indoor season – namely new head coach Dave Sulley.
“I knew that Jules was technically very sound and was very well-coached prior to my arrival,” Sulley said. “It was a tremendous help to our team to have a young man of his talent and character. He helped to lead the team. I remember watching Jules in races last spring whenever I could and I could see how talented he was.”
Sulley had an added advantage.
“I had him in my class in senior English,” Sulley said. “I think I was able to begin to know Jules as a person in the classroom. I tried to establish a relationship with him. I knew that he didn’t run indoor track last year, but I was happy to hear he was going to do indoor this year. We began talking in class. I generally tried to make it as easy for him and for me.”
Hislop had a fine beginning to the season, winning his first race, the 55-meter hurdles at the O’Leary Lid Lifter, the first of several meets held at Drew University in December and January.
“The initial win really boosted my morale,” Hislop said. “That’s when I realized that I could be competitive the entire season.”
Hislop was more than competitive. He was dominant.
He then won the 55-meter hurdles and the 300-meter dash at the DeSchriver Invitational. He anchored the shuttle hurdle relay team that won the gold medal at the Passarelli Invitational. Hislop was second in the 55-meter hurdles at the Racine-Drew Invitational, won both the 55-meter hurdles and the 300-meter dash at the Back Invitational.
Hislop helped the Green Wave capture the team title at the Morris County Relays, the first time Delbarton won the county relays in more than 20 years.
Hislop then capped his brilliant campaign by finishing first in the 55-meter hurdles and second in the 300-meter run at the Morris County championship, leading the Green Wave to a second-place team finish.
Hislop then won the Non-Public A state title in the 55-meter hurdles and finished 10th in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
For his efforts, Hislop has been selected as the All Daily Record Boys’ Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
“I think I turned out to be fairly decent,” Hislop said modestly. “I’m not always satisfied with what I do. I am always trying to achieve a bigger goal.”
“You always look for the great athletes who seem to have the entire package,” Sulley said. “Well, that’s Jules. He’s intelligent, coachable, dedicated to the sport and has courage. When you get a kid like Jules to coach, you’re very lucky. I was happy to have the opportunity to coach him.”
Before Hislop heads off to Dartmouth to study economics in the fall, he still has an outdoor season to tackle, one that has two hurdles events instead of one.
“I don’t mind running, but I realize I’m more of a contender in all of New Jersey as a hurdler,” Hislop said. “I’m hopefully going to capitalize on that.”
Hislop has a 4.0 grade point average, but you have a better chance of getting to know Hislop’s numbers in the 55-meter hurdles than his Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.
“I honestly don’t know,” Hislop said.
Hislop has a younger brother, Julian, who also competes in track and field at Delbarton. Julian Hislop is a freshman.
“I hope I’m a big influence on him,” Hislop said. “We go to a lot of AAU and U.S. Track and Field meets together and we push each other to the best of our ability.”
However, for now, the older brother has the upper hand.
So what does it mean for Hislop to be named the best track and field athlete in a county brimming with talented performers?
“It means a lot,” Hislop said. “I know I come across very humble, very quiet and subdued. I guess my parents taught me to never be arrogant and you can achieve something great. I guess this is an indication of what they taught me.”
As well as making an impromptu hurdle in the family driveway.