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Joelle Amaral

Assistant Coach - Distance
Joelle Amaral - Cross Country - Virginia Cavaliers

Joelle Amaral joined the Virginia program in the fall of 2022 to coach the middle-distance and distance runners for the Cavaliers. She came to UVA after serving as an assistant at Eastern Kentucky from 2019-2022.

The Virginia distance runners put together a record setting 2023-24 indoor season including breaking six program records, earning five All-American and seven All-ACC honors. This season alone, the women’s distance medley relay team took down the Virginia program record in the event three times. Alahna Sabbahkan, Caroline Timm, Anna Workman and Margot Appleton were the first to break the record in 10:55.45 at the Penn State National Open. Next, the quartet of Maggie Hock, Workman, Sabbahkan and Appleton bested the record by three second clocking 10:52.22 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational. The same four of Hock, Workman, Sabbahkan and Appleton went on to smash their own record winning the silver medal at the Indoor ACC Championships in 10:50.58 and earn All-ACC accolades. Their time qualified for the 2024 Indoor NCAA Championships where the relay team earned second team All-American honors.

Margot Appleton took down the Virginia record in her first mile race of the year with a blazing 4:30.87 to rank as high as fourth in the NCAA and ultimately qualify for the Indoor NCAA Championships. Appleton broke her own school record in Boston, Mass. finishing fifth in 4:29.07 to earn first team All-American honors and become the first Virginia women’s mile to finish in the top-five in the event at the Indoor NCAA Championships in back-to-back seasons. At the Indoor ACC Championships, Appleton ran a new personal-best 8:57.53 to break the Virginia program record and bring home the silver medal. Also at the ACC Championships, Jenny Schilling ran an impressive 16:02.57 for 5000m to finish third earning the bronze medal. In the mile, Anna Workman led her preliminary heat wire to wire before finishing third in the ACC clocking 4:39.37 alongside teammate Caroline Timm who scored in fifth place with a time of 4:40.84. Amaral guided Appleton, Workman and Timm to earn All-ACC honors.

The 2023 Cross Country season saw a 15th place team finish for the women at the NCAA Cross Country Championship on the Cavaliers home course, Panorama Farms. Virginia’s top performer was Jenny Schilling, who completed the 6,000-meter course in 20:06.4 to garner All-American honors. Schilling shaved more than six seconds off her previous time from this year’s pre-nationals race, which was also held at Panorama Farms.

The Virginia women finished third at the ACC Cross Country Championships for the second-consecutive year with a total of 82 points. Margot Appleton (19:44.5) led the team for the 6k race placing fifth overall followed by Jenny Schilling (20:04.6), Caroline Timm (20:20.3) and Anna Workman (20:21.9). Schilling, Timm and Anna Workman were all named to the All-ACC team.

The 2023 Outdoor season saw an impressive run from Margot Appleton. Appleton qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary round in the 1500m and 5000m where she secured her spot at the 2023 Outdoor NCAA Championships. After advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in her career, Appleton made the most of her opportunity running a well-executed race to secure the third of five automatic qualifying places running 4:14.54. Her performance marked the first time Appleton had qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships while set to make her third appearance at an NCAA Championship meet during the 2022-23 athletic season. At the ACC Outdoor Championships, Appleton ran personal-best 4:08.96 to win her first Outdoor ACC title in the event.

Sophie Atkinson was another Cavalier to book a ticket to the NCAA Championships after placing eighth overall in the 10,000 meters. Atkinson entered as the east semifinal round as the 39th seed then posted a personal-best time of 33:53.56 to surge into eighth and secure her qualifying position. She became the first Cavalier to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 meters since 2016 when Cleo Boyd placed ninth at the meet.

Anna Workman and Eshter Seeland also qualified to the quarterfinal round. Workman posted the fifth-fastest qualifying time running personal-best 4:18.82. In the quarterfinals, she bettered her time once more posting 4:14.65 – just .37 seconds off the final time qualifier for the NCAA Championships. Workman ranks seventh all-time at Virginia in the 1500m. In her second appearance at the NCAA east preliminary meet, Workman qualified for the NCAA quarterfinal round for the first time in her career. Seeland clocked 4:19.80 for the eighth-fastest qualifying time.

The 2023 indoor season marked more progress for the Cavaliers. Margot Appleton led the way with an impressive campaign in both the mile and the 3000m. She hit a personal-best mile time of 4:33.82 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational which would eventually qualify her for the NCAA Championships where she finished fourth to earn first team All-American honors as the lowest seed in the competition. Appleton also broke the Virginia 3000m record on two occasions setting the mark at 9:04.17 finishing fourth at the ACC Indoor Championships.

The Cavalier DMR team also set a Virginia record running 10:55.94 at the ACC Championships in a fourth-place finish. The squad had also run a time of 11:02.00 at the JDL DMR Invitational during the regular season. The converted time of 10:54.99 missed qualification for the NCAA Championships by less than a second.

In her first season at Virginia, Amaral guided the Cavalier women to an impressive season on the cross country course. After a third-place finish at the ACC Championships, Virginia earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships where the placed ninth overall. The performance was the first top-10 finish since the 2013 season and just the fifth all-time.

At Eastern Kentucky, Amaral helped lead Ahmed Jaziri to the Colonels’ first-ever NCAA title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and helped Laura Taborda become the first woman in EKU history to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the same event. In all, Amaral helped guide the Colonels to three conference championships in cross country. She also coached the distance runners to a total of 10 individual conference titles and three All-American honors across indoor and outdoor track and field seasons in her time at EKU.

Amaral began her coaching career at Kentucky, serving as a graduate assistant from 2017-2019. She served as an assistant coach to the distance runners and handled operations for the cross country team.

A native of Randolph, N.J., Amaral earned her undergraduate degree from Washington in communication studies with a minor in nutritional sciences. She earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotions from Kentucky.