Lily James '19

The University of Virginia
Lily James’s journey to becoming a Division I track athlete started during her days as an Oakcrest Charger. “Running has always been a huge part of my life since I started on the Oakcrest track team in sixth grade,” Lily  ‘19, who runs for the University of Virginia, explains. “It's been a blessing to continue to grow as an athlete in college.”

Now in her junior year at the University of Virginia (UVA), Lily is working towards a Bachelor of Arts in government with a minor in Spanish. She hopes to pursue a career in public policy and consulting after graduating. As a track athlete, Lily runs middle distance events, with the 800m being her specialty. “My journey as a student athlete has not been without its challenges, but it has been incredibly rewarding,” she says. “There’s a special camaraderie you get when you go through extremely tough workouts with people, accomplish things you thought you were never capable of, and become resilient together.” 

Athletics were a big part of Lily’s life at Oakcrest from her first days as a Middle School student. She played soccer and ran track all seven years that she was at Oakcrest and competed on the cross country team for a year as well. As a Charger, Lily achieved a number of impressive athletic accomplishments, including breaking multiple Oakcrest track records and setting a Virginia state record for the fastest girls 800m time (2:15.33). Oakcrest gave her the support and guidance she needed to thrive as an athlete. “I loved being guided by Coach Pruskowski because she is passionate about athletics and helping us reach our full potential,” Lily recalls. “Her wonderful coaching and support for so many years was a huge part of why I loved running track at Oakcrest.” 

In the classroom, Lily was particularly captivated by the excitement of American history class with Mrs. Escobar and European history with Ms. Nussio. “My Spanish and history classes at Oakcrest were the ones that inspired curiosity in me the most and directly influenced my choice of studies in college,” she explains. She reflects on the impact Oakcrest’s liberal arts education has had on her life. It taught her to think critically and sharpened her desire to pursue the truth in everything she studies. Lily adds, “I think when you are taught what is good and appreciate it for its own sake, you try to live your life around that, which is liberating.”
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