Borden senior cross country runner Julien Magallanes is chasing a state championship. Magallanes, who finished third in the state in the 3200 meter race during the 2015 track season, won the prestigious Eagle Classic at Brown County with a meet-record time of 15:14.19.
Courier-Journal: The Brown County meet featured a lot of ranked teams and outstanding runners. Does that win make you a favorite later in the season?
Julien Magallanes: Going into the semistate and state finals is a totally different environment. Running that time now doesn’t mean that much to me. It’s what I do later on.
C-J: Did that give you a shot of confidence?
Magallanes: It showed me that, just because I’m a kid from a little Class A school, it doesn’t mean I can’t run with the best runners in the state. I’m not saying I can win it, because you never know what’s going to happen. But it does give me a huge confidence boost.
C-J: Do you use any particular strategy during a race?
Magallanes: In big races, I do have a strategy to stay with the top runners as much as possible. That’s the game plan going in. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out. In other races I just go out and run my race, just run the course and do the best I can.
C-J: How did you fall in love with running?
Magallanes: I started running in the third grade. One day I went out with my brother and his group and beat them all in one race. I won a lot of races in junior high, and I had some people tell me not to get used to winning all the races. That put a fire under me. Now it’s the feeling of running and being able to do something great. It’s not so much winning as it is being able to clear my mind. Winning doesn’t matter as long as I’m having fun.
C-J: What goals are you chasing?
Magallanes: I’d love to be a contender for the state. But I won’t be disappointed if I don’t win. It’s not about winning. It’s about pride to me, what it means to the community of Borden, what it means to my family.
C-J: Your coach (Liz Geltmaker) said you had to learn to be a vocal leader this season. Was that difficult?
Magallanes: It was extremely hard because I was really shy, especially in junior high when I didn’t know how to interact with other students. I do lead by example, but being vocal is different. I’m getting used to that, and I like it a lot better when I can help out my teammates the best I can.
C-J: You were a freshman on Borden’s Class A state championship basketball team. What did you learn from that experience?
Magallanes: Since I was so young, it was different. Everyone on that team was primarily juniors and seniors, and it wasn’t as much of a family for me as what I was used to with running. But now as a senior, it’s all of my friends playing, and that feels like a family. That’s why I would like to play again this year.
C-J: What has pointed you toward a possible career in physical therapy?
Magallanes: I have had a lot of problems with injuries as a freshman, and just being around all that has attached to me. I’ve always had an interest in that.
C-J: Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Magallanes: During my freshman season, we called ourselves the Distance Crew. Being with them was great. They made it fun to be around. And my coach has always helped me out, not just in running but at school and home. She has always kept me on my feet and on the right path. She’s been there for me.
JULIEN MAGALLANES UP CLOSE
Family: parents Andres and Erika; brother Nathan (19), sisters Isis (15) and Kaylie (12)
Student/athlete: Julien is a member of the National Honor Society and Outdoor Club. He also runs track and finished third in the state in the 3200 meter race in 2015. He plans to major in physical therapy in college.
Coach Liz Geltmaker: He’s been highly motivated. He has realized he can compete with the whole state, not just Southern Indiana. He’s the best athlete I’ve seen come through Borden. I’ve watched him grow into a leader. He’s become more vocal and the kids look up to him because he works hard every practice. He had to learn that skill of being more vocal, where everything else comes easy to him. He’s a great kid to coach.