With just over a month until the first cross country meet of the season, the Dawson County girls team is now heading into a critical stretch of training. Despite the team having no seniors on the roster, junior Jules Phillips has taken the initiative to become a leader and help prepare younger players.
Along with her friend Anna LeCave, Phillips is one of only two juniors on the team. Head coach Jonathan Tinsley has taken notice of the effort from Phillips, whose influence is not limited to just the girls team.
“She’s really emerged this summer as our leader,” Tinsley said. “She’s taken over leading the kids in stretches and pushing to make them better.”
In addition to leading both teams in warm-ups, Phillips has also become a vocal leader for the six underclassmen running on the girls team.
By taking on the role of an encouraging voice, she is both setting expectations for the younger runners and incorporating them into the team culture.
For Phillips, this type of leadership is rooted in her own experiences of willing herself through a run.
(Article continues below)
“The way I encourage people is the way I encourage myself,” Phillips said. “I always try to give everyone a goal. I feel like anytime you have a goal…it is a helpful mindset.”
Considering the youth of the girls team, coach Tinsley knows that Phillips’ contributions will be important throughout the upcoming season as the new varsity members experience new challenges.
“Some of these girls have ran middle school and junior varsity races but they have never run varsity races,” Tinsley said. “They’re going to need that encouragement and push from her and Anna LeCave as well.”
In addition to running cross country, Phillips is also a member of the track and field team. She was a part of last season’s 4x800 relay team that was the Region 7 runner-up and would finish sixth at the State Finals.
Phillips enjoys studying science and is interested in being a biology major in college to potentially become a surgeon.
In her free time, she enjoys going to the pool, doing CrossFit and baking for friends and family.