For many young kids, the last thing they want to do in their elementary physical education class is run laps. That was not so for Rosary High School senior Brianna Vasquez.
“I always liked running growing up,” says Vasquez. “I was the weird kid in P.E. who liked to run the mile.”
Without a local running club in her area, Vasquez turned to soccer during her younger years as a way to stay running. Becoming a freshman meant the opportunity to join Rosary’s track team, and Vasquez finally found where she belonged.
“When I came to high school, I tried track and fell in love with it right away,” says the 18-year-old Vasquez. “I knew that’s where I was supposed to be.”
Vasquez specializes in the 200 meter, 400 meter and 4 x 400 meter relay events, and she has a special conflicting relationship with her favorite event, the 400 meter race.
“It’s my greatest fear,” says Vazquez of the tricky one lap sprint. “I feel so accomplished after I run it, because I just conquered my fear.”
With a training regimen that keeps her running year round, Vasquez trains with her Royals teammates almost daily during the season, runs with an outside club team during the off-season, and spends several hours each week in the gym to build up her strength and stamina. Rosary’s head track and field coach, Jen Murphy, says that Vasquez’s dedication has not only paid off on the track, but has earned the respect of her teammates as well.
“Brianna is the best team captain that I have ever worked with,” says Murphy. “She is dedicated to the team, and she makes sure that her whole team is on the same page. Her countless hours of hard work and practice have paid off, as Brianna has one of the top 10 times in Orange County this season in the 400 meters. She is truly an inspiration to her teammates.”
In an effort to serve at Rosary beyond athletics, Vasquez contributes to leadership efforts such as participating in the school’s chapters of the National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation, as well as serving as the president and co-founder of the Pro-Life Club on campus.
“I’m known as ‘the runner’ at my school, but I wanted leave more of a mark than that,” says Vasquez.
The Yorba Linda resident and oldest of five siblings says that she would love to continue to run at the collegiate level, alongside plans to study sports journalism. She’s grateful for the support of her parents, her faith and the life lessons she’s taken from the track.
“I’ve had lots of ups and downs with track… The downs have helped make me better,” says Vasquez. “My faith is everything to me. God is always there for me, and I know I can get through anything with him.”
Article by Jenelyn Russo and photo by Sarah Reid, OC Catholic
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