By Chris Hulsart
SIX. That is the amount of times that junior track star Julia Pena is featured individually on the York College women’s track record board, the most by any athlete on that list in the program’s long history. Even more impressive is that all these milestones have come during her historic 2022 campaign.
Pena, a forensic chemistry major from New York, has been a solid competitor for the Spartans since her freshman and sophomore seasons but really took the leap to become a superstar this year. She brings a lot of versatility to the team, competing in pole vault, hurdles, and long jump, and is leading the Spartans in medal count this year.
Senior Kristin Bria says of Pena, “Julia always finds a new way to impress us. Whenever she steps up for a race or an event, I am expecting her to come out on top.”
Perhaps Pena’s most impressive meet of the year was the Twilight meet, where she scored three top-three finishes, including two wins in the pole vault and long jump.
Pena’s season will conclude at the NCAA D3 championships, an accomplishment she describes as “incredible and humbling.”
This past weekend, she took a first in the pole vault at the MAC Outdoor Championships at DeSales with a height of 3.80m, which set a new school record and is ranked top-10 nationally. Pena also medaled in the 100 hurdles as she claimed the silver for the second-straight season in the event.
Besides just her scoring, the junior star is also a team leader. Freshman Isabella Ewing states, “Julia has such a positive influence on us underclassmen. She supports us when we don’t do as good as we want and she celebrates with us when we PR or qualify.”
Although Pena is enjoying unprecedented success for York College this season, she knows she is capable of following it up for her senior year.
“Next season I’m hoping for another good one and plan to put in all the hard work and effort needed to make it a good one,” she says. “That’s what I love about track. There’s never really an end point, you can always run fast or jump higher.”
Chris Hulsart is a freshman and a Sport Media major.