MEDFORD - Isabella Turner is used to running away from the crowd. Soon, the Shawnee High School star distance runner will be joining in with a special group.
Turner, a sophomore, who is a member of St. Mary Of The Lakes Church in Medford, is going on the Habitat for Humanity trip in late June with the parish’s YES (Youth Energized in Spirit) group to work on projects in Livingston, New Jersey. This will be her first Habitat trip.
“I started with YES my freshman year, my friends were doing it and a lot of the girls that don’t go to my school were doing it and they got me more involved with the church and Mrs. Xerri is awesome,” Turner said about the tireless Parish Youth Minister of St. Mary of the Lakes who last weekend staged a Sleep Out for the Homeless event at the school. “I’m excited, my older sister went on one and liked it."
Turner’s older sister, Alexis, played lacrosse and track at Shawnee in addition to being a member of YES. Her younger sister, Olivia, is in the fourth grade at the St. Mary of the Lakes school. Her older brother, CJ, plays lacrosse at the University of South Carolina
“My whole family is into sports,” Turner said. “My dad (Craig) is a triathlon runner and my mom (Teresa) was a sprinter.”
Turner and classmate, Claire Houser, both earned All-South Jersey honors from the South Jersey Track Coaches Association the last two years for the Shawnee cross-country team.
“It’s great to have a teammate like her pushing me,” Turner said. “I hope I push her and the whole team.”
Last year, Turner looked up to the Renegades’ All-South Jersey runner Kara Bonner.
“She was an awesome mentor,” Turner said.
On Wednesday, Shawnee posted an impressive dual meet win over school district rival Seneca.
“Whatever the season, I just love running,” Turner said. “When I run, my mind is blank.”
In addition to winning, it’s not surprising for such a caring person, who is going on a Habitat for Humanity project when many of her contemporaries are going to the Jersey Shore, that she embraces just being around her teammates.
“We all love hanging out together, it’s very enjoyable,” Turner said.
And, not surprisingly, she loves working out.
“I definitely trained hard through the summer and kept the training up,” Turner said.
Turner, however, hasn’t been concentrating on her signature event - the 3,200 - yet this spring
“We’ve been focusing on the relay,” Turner said. “We tried to qualify for Penn (Relays), but now our focus is on the sectionals.”
“I’m trying to get under 11,” Turner added about the 3,200. “That’s my goal.”
After the meet on Wednesday when the temperature hit 90 degrees, Turner went on warm down run.
“It was for tempo too,” she said with a determined smile. “I’m trying to get used to this hot weather. I know it’ll be like this at the end of the season, so I’m trying to get acclimated.”
Turner was on the Shawnee swimming team the last two winters, specializing in the 500 and 200.
“I really enjoy swimming,” she said. “I love the cross training.”
Although she is two years away from college, Turner plans on majoring in engineering.
“I love science, my dad is a doctor in the emergency room at Virtua Marlton,” she said.
And, like her father, and friends at YES, Turner wants to help the less fortunate.
“Everything you see on the news seems bad, so you try to find some good out of it,” Turner said. “I’m very thankful for what I have and for what my parents have given me. They gave me so much.”
She already gives back to her teammates and soon she will be giving back to the homeless.