When Chelsea High track standout Justin Turner hits the last lap of a two-mile race, it isn’t so much the training or preparation, but the mental toughness to find energy that just isn’t there. He would know.
The senior captain has prevailed in most every two-mile event already in the indoor track season, and he also made a huge splash in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC) as the League MVP in cross country.
“I think the finish is more mental, probably because you know you’re so close to the finish and you want to do anything you can to get there and also hold off anyone who is exact same thing to try to catch you…At the beginning, I try to hold off the adrenaline rush for the start. It’s about getting a good pace and settling in and focusing. On the last few laps, you pull out everything you have left in order to finish – and that’s the mental part.”
Turner, 17, attended the Early Learning Center, the Berkowitz Elementary, the Wright Middle School and Chelsea High. He said he started being athletic at a young age, playing football and other youth sports, and becoming the athlete in his family.
He began cross country and track his freshman year, and has participated continuously all four years. Having been mentored by star athlete Jose LeClerc, who graduated last year, Turner said he stepped up to lead the team this year. Though he is a quiet leader, he said that he believes other team members look up to him.
Turner said he enjoys distance running because it’s a very controlled sport.
“It’s more about paying attention to what I’m doing and not getting distracted by what’s around me,” he said.
“You have to motivate yourself and if you don’t it’s hard to stay focused,” he added.
When it comes to the classroom, Turner has never had a GPA below 3.5, and he said he enjoys chemistry the most. However, he hopes to focus his attention on computer programming in the future.
He said his older sister is involved in that, and he watched her over the summer programming video games, and he felt that was something he really wanted to do.
He has applied to seven colleges so far, but said he hopes to be able to go to Suffolk University so he can try to run track and cross country there as well.
Beyond the classroom and the athletic fields, one might have seen Turner in the front row of the concert band, where he plays flute and piccolo.
He said his mom and dad, Russell and Erikka Turner, have been a support system throughout his track career not only for himself, but also the whole team.
“My mom and dad and family came to my first meet and they always come when they can,” he said. “They support me throughout my years and they support the rest of the team too. They don’t just support me, but everyone on the team.”
Turner also has three siblings, Jyllian, Teri and Kyle, and he said he has enjoyed growing up in Chelsea. “There is a stereotype out there that Chelsea isn’t the best place, but people in this community fight that stereotype and they do everything they can to make it the best city it can be,” he said.