Shelby Houlihan on Running With Siblings


(Photo used courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

Locals to Arizona may have recognized Shelby long before the last year, now the entire nation knows who she is. Shelby Houlihan won the NCAA championships in the 1500m and ran well at senior Nationals in the 800m. She will undoubtedly have or maybe has already many different options to go pro in running. She also has an older sister, Shayla, who has been there and done that. Shayla ran for the Brooks Beasts before taking a job coaching at Cal. Arizona Milesplit was fortunate enough to be able to chat with Shebly about how Shayla impacted her running career.

How would you tell high school athletes to handle situations with younger siblings?

Focus on yourself and what you can do to make yourself better. Always be there to support and encourage your siblings.

Did you ever feel like you were in Shayla’s shadow? How did you focus on establishing your own identity?

No, I did not feel like I was in Shayla’s shadow. She was always there to support me and give me advice and I just focused on what I had to do to be successful.

What’s the most important thing you have learned from Shayla?

The most important thing I’ve learned from Shayla would be to not get too nervous for races and to be confident in myself.

How do you pace yourself through the rounds of big races? How do you know whether you are going too hard or not enough?

I always just focus on one race at a time. With going through rounds, I focus on what I need to do to get through the prelim and never assume it will be easy. I know my body and I know what I am capable of. I always go into a race giving it everything I have so I never really worry about going too hard or not enough.

What other advice do you have for high school athletes?

I would advise high school athletes to really just have fun. Stay focused on your goals and be committed to the process of achieving those goals but always remember to have fun along the way.


Shayla now coaches at Cal while Shelby runs for rival Arizona State. Contributed Photo, taken by Spencer Allen