Julia Parra’s list of accomplishments as a track and field thrower is long and impressive. The recent graduate of Arlington High School was a two-time Wesco 3A and two-time district champion in both the girls shot put and discus. At last year’s state meet she placed second in the shot and third in the discus, and this year she had her sights set on the top of the podium before spring sports were cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In this edition of The Herald’s spring sports senior salute, Parra reflects on finishing second at state to someone who’s celebratory video went viral, why she decided to compete collegiately as a Coug instead of a Dawg, and how she ended up on the path toward medicine:
What were your goals for your senior season?
I really wanted to break the school discus and shot put records this year. I was only like a quarter-inch from the shot record, so that was a bummer. I also wanted to place first in the state for shot put and discus.
I definitely knew I was going to break the records this year. At state you don’t really know what’s going to happen, but I trained really hard in the offseason.
You came oh so close to a Class 3A state title in the shot put last year, finishing second to to Shorecrest’s Kiana Lino, and video of Lino’s exuberant celebration ended up going viral. What was that experience like?
It’s always a bummer when you train really hard for something and don’t make it. But I thought I did the best I could for that day, and sometimes there are just things you’re not really prepared for. I was just mad. I was mad at myself because I knew I deserved that, and I used that to train harder for the following year.
What will your favorite memory be of your time with the Arlington track and field team?
Probably whenever we got to do a victory lap after a meet. We have a fight song that we always sing in the middle of the field. I was one of the captains, and the captains get to lead that, which is cool, and we always take a team selfie. I’ll just really miss that.
You will be attending Washington State University, where you will be a member of the women’s track and field team. How did you end up being a Cougar?
For me it was between Washington and Washington State. I took visits to both schools, but when I went to Washington State I just got a certain feeling that I knew I belonged there, because it reminds me a lot of Arlington — I just love Arlington. I really got along with the team there and really love the coach, which is super important. I just felt that academically I fit in more there than at Washington, and Pullman is just a really beautiful city. I’m super excited!
I’m told you intend to study medicine at WSU. Why did you choose that field?
Both my brothers are paramedics and firefighters, and ever since I was little I just loved cleaning out people’s cuts and doing other doctor things. Anatomy and stuff like that are my favorite things in school, so I just figured I’d major in Pre-Med and see what I can do from there.
I wanted to be a physician’s assistant, but then talking to my brother about it he said, ‘Why not just become a physician?’ That makes sense, you can earn more money from that. I’ve also thought about becoming a pediatrician, because I love little kids.