By Lindsey Allen |Staff Writer|
atherine Gomez is a hard-working student athlete who helped earn the CSUSB women’s cross country team their second-best regional finish in school history this season.
Gomez transferred from Riverside Community College and began running for the Coyotes her junior year in 2010. She consistently ran in the top spots and earned two sixth place finishes.
At the CCAA Championships that year she placed 17th and at the NCAA West Regional finished 36th.
Additionally in 2010 Gomez was named the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-Academic Cross Country Team. The award is given to exceptional athletes who have earned a GPA of at least 3.25.
This year, as a senior, Gomez helped her team achieve a great last season. She ran her best race at the UC San Diego Tritons Invitational in October finishing the 6,000 meter (3.7 miles) course in 23 minutes, 38.6 seconds and placed 30th overall.
Gomez said she is happy with how the season turned out and that all of the girls worked together and stepped it up.
“We earned the second best finish in school history,” she said. “I’m happy to have been a part of this team.”
Individually, Gomez believes this season could have gone better.
“It was hard to live up to my junior season,” she admitted. “I came back from an injury that set me back a lot, but I think overall it was still good.”
Gomez began her running career back in the 5th grade, when she began playing soccer and softball.
“My dad used to tell me if you run this many laps, we’ll go get doughnuts afterward,” she said.
In middle school, Gomez was approached to join a running club.”I was always in shape for soccer and softball, and I think I liked the running part of the sports the most. In soccer they would put me in midfield so I could run, and in softball I was good at running bases,” said Gomez.
She turned it down, saying she was too busy with soccer, but still ended up going to the meets. It was in high school the she first joined cross country.
“My coach convinced me to join and I loved it. It was such a great experience. My first time ever going to Hawaii was for a meet my freshman year.”
Gomez said that sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated especially when not performing at a meet as well as expected. Despite this she always found motivation in her fellow teammates and coach, as well as her family and her boyfriend.
“It’s great when my parents are there at the races cheering me on, and my boyfriend always gives me pep talks when I need them,” she said.
As a Liberal Studies major, Gomez wants to be an elementary school teacher, preferably for the second grade. She graduates in June and then is planning on getting her teaching credential and attending grad school.
Aside from running and concentrating on school, she enjoys going to punk music shows and spending time with her friends.