In August 2021, Beacon Academy Junior Julian Aske underwent surgery on his knee. He wasn’t sure if he would run this track season, let alone compete in state competition.

“I have always had problems with my kneecap popping out, I knew I would have to have surgery at some point,” Julian said. “I started physical therapy in the fall and my physical therapist told me he has never seen someone improve so quickly. I just pushed through and it’s been a great track season.”

Julian Aske of Beacon Academy takes second in the 800-meter run at the IHSA state championship. Credit: Submitted

Last month, during the Illinois High School Association state competition, Julian came in second place during the 800-meter event. “When I came in second in the state, I was elated,” he said. This came after winning the Palatine Relays in the same event earlier this spring. Julian continues to compete at the highest level.

Ahead of 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 race was Julian’s personal best by 3.4 seconds. “My strategy was to get out front early, during the preliminary round I was knocked off the track. I didn’t want that to happen again. I wanted to set the pace and run comfortably.”

His coaches have always believed in him and his ability.

“I was confident Julian could finish in the top four based on his preliminary performance. Seeing him take second place by only 0.2 seconds was exciting. Julian earned this because he puts in the work and is coachable,” said Rick Wemple, Beacon’s track coach. 

When Julian came to Beacon he planned to play soccer; track made him nervous but he found a new path and passion. He will be spending the summer leading a running camp for middle school students.

“State is the only race I’ve lost,” he said laughing. “I want to keep this going and win state next year.”