Pacific Runner Breaks School Record
By Amanda Davis
Two weekends ago, on October 27th, Pacific’s Women’s Cross Country team participated in the West Coast Conference championship race in Provo, Utah. In recent years this team has ranked 10th place out of 10 teams for this particular race, but this year they placed 8th. Not only did they reach this success as a team, but one individual stands out for Pacific as a record-breaking runner for this year’s WCC race.
Jasmine Gonzalez, Psychology ‘20, broke two records for our school at this race, one in rank and the other in time. She is the first to have finished in the top 20, placing 18th, and she broke our school’s record by crossing the finish line at 21:12.7. This feat has been on her mind ever since she started here as a student on the Cross Country team. She is proud of herself for this success, and fortunately the previous record-holder is too. According to Gonzalez, her coach has been drilling this goal into the team’s mind all season.
The previous time, 21:25, was integrated into the team’s lives every day. It was one of the main goals for the team to beat this time since they often run 6ks. Gonzalez knew she would get there at some point before she graduated, but she did not know when. Her recent personal record was 21:45—she had never broken 21:30 for a 6k before.
Gonzalez knew that she was ranked highly in an estimate of how the race would play out. She was ranked 21st, the best ranking for her team. This ranking was decided on past times for the 6k as well as who each runner has beaten in the past. Gonzalez waited until the day before the race to see her prospective ranking, not wanting it to stress her out during the school week. She did not anticipate feeling nervous, but after seeing her ranking she definitely was.
With clocks at every mile, Gonzalez could see that she was making good time. She knew what time she needed to hit at the first mile to be at a good pace for breaking the record. Her coach was also there to let her know if she needed to speed up or if her pace was good when he saw her during the race. When she saw that she was on track at the first mile, she began to feel confident that she could beat the record time.
“[I was] telling myself ‘You could totally do it,’” Gonzalez relates. “That motivation internally for sure helped me break that time.” When she saw the final clock by the finish line, she instantly knew she would be breaking the school record without a doubt.
“Before the race I honestly did not think I could break the record,” Gonzalez admits. “That was my coach’s attention…I was just okay with breaking 21:30, personally.” She states that when she crossed the finish line and broke the school record, it was the best feeling.
“I just fell to the floor like ‘thank you, God!’” Gonzalez exclaims. “I was so happy, I was crying. It was really emotional.” Her teammates were all happy for her, and she says that it was “a cool moment.”
To celebrate, Gonzalez went out to eat a burger, some fries, and lemonade. She also got ice cream and had Hot Cheetos later that night.
“That’s what I usually do to celebrate, I just eat whatever I want,” Gonzalez explains. Normally she eats healthy and tries to drink a lot of water, but she felt that she earned a night of junk food.
Confidence inarguably played a part in Gonzalez’s victory last month. Most of her best times have been made at this course, and it is similar to her home course in Fresno. The hilly dirt path and all of her training combined gave her self-assurance.
“[Coach] knows I am capable of reaching better times,” Gonzalez observes. Her training has been much like what the rest of her team does, though she has higher goals to reach during practices. Sometimes she would run more miles or need to beat faster times for drills. After all of that, what was left to set her up for the race was to properly warm up and “say a little prayer” at the starting line.
The season is coming to a close, with only one more race left for the Cross Country team, but it is not the end of their training. Each member will continue training on their own in the winter and during the summer to stay in shape for the next season. Gonzalez plans on continuing with the team in 2019.
“[It will be] my last season. I cannot slack off!” Gonzalez declares. “I wanna do everything perfectly!” She started running in the 5th grade and did not become serious about it until her sophomore year of high school, when she joined the team to get in shape for soccer. She fell in love with the sport then, and as she now wraps up her 6th year of running cross country, she is not about to let herself get too lazy and lose what she has been working on. She also recognizes that this has not been a solo journey, either.
“I give a lot of thanks to my teammates ‘cause they for sure helped me out a lot this season,” Gonzalez recalls. “They are all hard-working and they gave their all at the race too… Super thanks for my teammates and coach because they had a lot of patience with me. Super much love for them.”
With such a great ending to the season for Gonzalez, next season will be one you do not want to miss.