Varsity Cross Country Captain Andrea Gallardo

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Varsity Cross Country Captain Andrea Gallardo

Varsity Captain runner Andrea Gallardo.

Varsity Captain runner Andrea Gallardo.

Hiromi Maeda

Varsity Captain runner Andrea Gallardo.

Hiromi Maeda

Hiromi Maeda

Varsity Captain runner Andrea Gallardo.

Michelle Mateo, Writer

Four years ago, Andrea Gallardo didn’t picture herself running but because of a bet she could become one of the best runners ever at Venice High School. 

“Andrea is one of the top five best females at this school ever,”  said Coach Vidal Sandoval. “She’s easy to coach; listens, takes advice, and is extremely hard-working. She made it to State finals last year and she will probably do it again this year. Overall, she’s one of the best runners I’ve had, boy or girl.” 

Gallardo, a 17-year-old senior, is the team captain entering her third year on the girls’ Cross Country team. The Honduras native preferred soccer growing up.

She played for the varsity girls’ soccer team for one season during her freshman year of 2017. After the season, she tried out for the track team because of a bet that she had with the 2017 girls’ track team captain. 

She fell in love with running and hasn’t played soccer since but does plan to try out in the winter.

How was the transition from soccer to running?

“At first, cross country was very hard for me since you have a team. Track was much easier because it was more individual and independent. But I learned how to be a teammate and eventually a captain so now I love cross country, track, and soccer. 

Which has been your best season?

“I think this has been my best season even though I’ve had injuries. I really believe that we can make it to State, nothing is going to get in the way, not even my injuries.”

What do you like about running?

“Well it can be very stressful, but at the same time I feel free and successful. Like I’m not saving a life or anything but I still feel proud. By running, I’m choosing to show my passion.”

Have there been any obstacles that haven’t allowed you to run? 

“Well my mom last year was diagnosed with a chronic disease, so that hit me hard. It was hard for me to see my inspiration who is such a strong woman look so weak. She makes me want to be stronger because both of us are fighting now.”

Do you plan to keep running in college?

“Yes I do. I’ve been talking to the coach at UC Santa Cruz. My dream though would be to run for a Division I school like UC Irvine. I’ll most likely go to UC Santa Cruz.”

What are your goals/expectations for your last season on the team?

“I don’t want to go to State by myself so my first goal would be for my whole team to go to State which would make us the first women’s cross country team in Venice to go to State. Individual wise, I want to be in the top three in LA’s Division II.”

How was the transition from Honduras to the United States?

“Back in Honduras, I didn’t run since there were no programs available. Soccer back home is much more aggressive than here though. Over here there are many more opportunities to find the sport you’re good at. Plus, competition here is way better.”

What challenges has cross country brought?

“It was hard becoming captain. I needed to communicate and motivate my team and I didn’t know how to exactly. I did learn and now it’s much easier. I think with any sport you have to be really committed. For me it’s not just for an hour, it’s thinking about it 24/7. At times I’ll be eating but at the same time I’m thinking how to beat Pali. My whole team and I want the victories so bad that we even dream about it.” 

Any message to your team or future runners?

“I know they’re going to be losing six out of the top seven runners for next season but I want them to keep their hopes up. Keep pushing because it’s not only about how good you are at the beginning, but it’s about how good you can become. It’s about improving and keeping hope.”

How has your coach helped you out?

“He has so much passion. I just want him to keep showing his passion and not retire.” 

 

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