In August 2021, Beacon Academy Junior Julian Aske underwent knee surgery. He wasn’t sure whether to race this season on the track, let alone compete in national competitions.
“I always had issues with my kneecap sticking out, I knew I would have to have surgery at some point,” Julian said. “I started physiotherapy in the fall and my physiotherapist told me he’s never seen anyone improve so quickly. I just pushed and it’s been a great season on track.
Last month at the Illinois High School Association state meet, Julian came second in the 800 meter event. “When I came second in the state, I was thrilled,” he said. This came after winning the Palatine Relays in the same event earlier this spring. Julian continues to compete at the highest level.
Before the race, Julian admitted he felt nervous. “My hip flexor was tight but I didn’t tell my coach. You could feel the nervousness in the air. I just had to give myself a pep talk,” he said.
It worked, the run was Julian’s personal best of 3.4 seconds. “My strategy was to take the lead early, in the preliminaries I was taken off the track. I didn’t want this to happen again. I wanted to set the pace and run comfortably.
His coaches have always believed in him and his abilities.
“I was convinced that Julian could finish in the top four based on his preliminary performance. To see him take second place by just 0.2 seconds was exciting. Julian deserved it because he works hard and he’s coachable,” said Rick Wemple, Beacon’s track and field coach.
When Julian came to Beacon, he planned to play football. track made him nervous but he found a new path and a new passion. He will spend the summer leading a running camp for college students.
“State is the only race I lost,” he said with a laugh. “I want to go on and win the state next year.”