Julie Shepherd isn’t completely done with track and field just yet.
The 2019 Lompoc High graduate is heading Down Under – with the shot put and discus in tow.
“I will be going to Australia in Brisbane for a three-day competition through Down Under Sports. I got invited,” Shepherd tells The Record.
Shepherd, who advanced all the way to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet in the last two seasons of throwing, is heading to the capital of Queensland for the special world meet from July 7 to 10 that brings out some of the top youth throwers from around the world. She will also compete with and against athletes from Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana, etc.
It’s the latest signature meet for a Braves thrower who has had a long list of significant accomplishments.
Shepherd wound up either taking first or second in several meets during the spring, all while competing and encouraging her teammate Esperanza Zepeda. Shepherd claimed first for the discus event in the Channel League Finals by throwing a personal record of 112 feet, 8 inches.
But this past season brought out more insurmountable challenges for her and the Braves — as bus rides were now an hour away from LHS as the Braves had to compete against the Santa Barbara gauntlet of Santa Barbara High, Dos Pueblos and San Marcos.
And the Braves still managed to produce several Channel League individual champions, including her, plus the boys track and field title.
“I normally set pretty high expectations and I set goals for myself. I’m pretty hard on myself and I’ pretty determined. If I don’t meet my goals, I get really disappointed and upset. But now I’m really proud of myself,” Shepherd said regarding her individual league title.
She received encouragement from her head coach Claudia Terrones every time she stepped inside the shot put and discus circle.
“A lot of motivation and confidence came from her,” Shepherd said. “I know she really wants me to have the confidence moving forward and to be really responsible, plus to do my best all of the time.”
Following the Down Under Sports meet, Shepherd says she still doesn’t plan to conclude her track and field career.
“I’m going to Chico State and will look to throw for them,” said Shepherd, who added she plans to walk-on with the Wildcats’ track and field team. She also shares this connection with women’s track and field head coach Robert Nooney: the six-year head coach is a Lompoc native.
Chico State has a spot in the Shepherd family tree. Her older sister is a graduate. Shepherd plans to study business finance there.
“I want to be a financial adviser because I’m really good at math, so I thought numbers and helping people at the same time is an interest for me,” Shepherd said.
Overall, the recent LHS grad can smile at what she accomplished on her end and with her teammates — before she takes her trek to the land Down Under.
“I’m proud of how it ended,” Shepherd said.