Santa Margarita’s track & field star is “backbone” of team, says coach

By Jenelyn Russo     10/16/2018

Tessa Green headed into high school thinking she was going to be on the sidelines supporting the athletes as a cheerleader. But she took a detour to the track and has found her place at Santa Margarita Catholic High School as a sprinter.

“I came in not expecting anything,” says Green. “So my career started my freshman year, just getting out there and starting something new.”



Without realizing how fast she truly was, Green made a splash on the running stage as a freshman and has continued to make her mark on a deep Eagles track program ever since. The 17-year-old runs the 100- and 400-meter races along with the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays. Green is also a member of Santa Margarita’s Orange County record-setting 4×100 meter relay team from 2017, having anchored that race for the Eagles each year.

“The thing I enjoy the most about running is the drive,” says Green. “You get nervous at first, but when you’re out there running, you just forget about everything. It’s rewarding and it makes me feel so happy.”

Green has battled injuries at the start of each season, so in her final year at Santa Margarita, the four-year varsity runner is focused on training not only to win, but to stay healthy.

“Tessa is an incredibly special talent and an even better person,” says Santa Margarita head track and field coach, Sean Zeitler. “This year, she is going to be the backbone of the team and has already molded herself into a more vocal leader. She is motivated and disciplined, and I expect huge things from her this season.”

Green considers wearing the Eagle an honor, as it represents both her sport and her faith. Being a runner has pushed Green to her limits and beyond, but she wouldn’t want it any other way.

“When I want to quit, I know I can’t,” says Green. “Workouts get hard, and my body gets tired. But I know that I need to keep pushing.”

A longtime resident of Ladera Ranch, Green is active in connecting with her community and volunteers her time with the American Red Cross. Sharing a common faith with her teammates plays a large role in how strong they are as a team.

“Faith is really important when competing,” says Green. “It allows me to center in, and it gives me guidance. I know that whatever happens, happens for a reason. It makes us grow together.”

Green is looking to continue running in college, along with fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor. Her father, an army veteran, has set the bar for Green when it comes to inspiring role models in her life.

“He teaches me to not give up, and he teaches me that I need to keep pushing,” says Green. “He’s my biggest motivator.”