Juli Accurso: Running for a reason

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After she won the 2011 All-Ohio Collegiate Championship, people might be wondering, who is Juli Accurso?

With a finishing time of 17:55.38 on the five-kilometer Elvin R. King Cross Country Course, Juli Accurso took first place in the women’s cross country race. Juli is a sophomore from Casstown, Ohio. Her age and her placing in meets are things to be recognized. Even though she is young in the game, she has talent that no one cannot doubt. She has showed a lot of progression from her freshman year to this year. Last year she didn’t place in the All-Ohio Championships and this year she won it all. Her success has been a result of hard work, dedication and team work.

“Being around Emily and Melissa last year motivated me,” Accurso said, “I’ve trained really hard this summer for this year."

Emily Pifer and Melissa Thompson are also successful sophomores on the team this year. Even though Cross Country is an individual sport, Accurso explained that she relies on them for support and motivation, as she does the rest of her team. All of their hard work is obviously paying off because the team has not placed below fourth place in any meet this season.

It’s obvious that Accurso is a busy girl, being a Division-1 athlete, but she also finds time to volunteer at Alexander Elementary School to teach French to students. Her major is French, so the romance language is a passion she possesses. She eventually would even like to double major. She decided to come to Ohio University for its French program, and she really felt Athens was the right atmosphere for her.

She began running in 7th grade, and after being encouraged to try cross country, she threw away her soccer cleats and picked up a pair of running shoes. Her family is very supportive of her passion and even though she is the eldest of three children, her parents try to attend as many meets as they can. Where Accurso’s running ability comes from is an ongoing joke in her family, considering her family doesn't have a gene pool full of collegiate athletes. Accurso is so committed to her sport that one of her dreams is to potentially continue her running career after college. Accurso also has aspirations to go to graduate school if all else fails.

Accurso just wants her team to remain healthy and strong when preparing for each upcoming meet. The support of her team means everything to her. The women's team participated in Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana this past Sunday, where Accurso finished 54th (22:01) and the team finished 19th out of 37 teams.

“It’s a big meet with big schools so we want to do well," Accurso said, “I just want my team and I to have a good, solid race."