Desirey Gomez didn’t exactly set out to become a cross-country runner. Running seemed to find her.
“I began running the summer before high school, and I started to really enjoy it,” says Gomez. “So I thought I should try out for the team.”
Her natural ability landed Gomez on the varsity cross-country team at Cornelia Connelly High School as a freshman, and she’s been there ever since. Now a senior, Gomez knows the investment she needs to make each day to remain competitive.
“Cross country takes a lot of dedication,” says Gomez. “You really have to know that you have to run every day. It takes a lot of preparation. That’s one of the things I love is that I’m very dedicated, and so that’s how I can stay in the sport.”
As captain for the Koalas, Gomez has shown Connelly cross-country head coach, Julie Cruz, that her dedication to both her teammates and the sport has separated her from the rest.
“No matter what we were doing for practice, Desirey was always so enthusiastic about it never complained,” says Cruz. “She would always look at it as another way to improve. You’d always see her so joyful and bonding with the girls. She really brought the team together. No matter how tired she was, she would always finish strong with her strides to the finish line. And once finished, you’d see her encouraging the others to finish strong.”
Cross-country is just one of the sports that Gomez has competed in as a Koala, as the 17-year-old also plays softball, basketball and soccer. She feels her cross-country training helps her excel as a multi-sport athlete.
“I’m very dedicated, and I consider myself a hard worker,” says Gomez. “And I believe that cross country actually prepares me for my other sports. I’m one of the top runners in all of my sports, so that really helps me a lot.”
Gomez will be taking her athletic skills to Cleveland State University next fall where she will be playing softball for the Vikings and studying physical therapy. The Anaheim resident knows that running has taught her plenty of skills that will prepare her for her next steps.
“Cross-country has taught me a lot about dedication, hard work and being a person of good character,” says Gomez “…helping my other teammates, cheering them on and being that leader for them.”
Gomez is grateful for the support of her grandparents, as they diligently cheer her on at all her meets and games. And her faith is where she draws her strength.
“Faith plays a big role for me,” says Gomez. “God always tells us to be strong and courageous. Every time I run, I just think about being strong and that’s what helps me to go faster, go harder and try my best.”