It all really began when Marisa Vasquez had Coach David Londino as a homeroom teacher, and he pointed her out and said she needs to do track. Londino’s recruiting didn’t do much- in the end it was her friend who actually got her to try out for the team. But after Londino saw her run an impressive time it was apparent to her that maybe pursuing something in track might be something she’d enjoy. Vasquez knew she liked to run, but she didn’t think it’d be beneficial to join a team. However, that’s exactly what she did.
Since freshman year, Vasquez has been doing indoor and outdoor track. Having the ability to get on the varsity team from the get-go, it became one of the things she just naturally loves.
4 years, and 8 seasons of running later, Vasquez still runs the varsity 1 mile race. She’s looking forward to always run faster than her best time, especially since this is her last year on the team. One of the things that she notably loves about track, aside from the team being like a family, is that it’s a difficult sport; athletes need to push themselves mentally and physically. “As you’re running you have to convince yourself and as well as your body… to push yourself… You have to tell your mind ‘don’t give up just because there’s a person behind you is behind you, and you feel like they’re going to catch up. You gotta push yourself harder,’” she explains. ”[She wants] to set [her] goals up high to try my best at practices and meets because [she’s] amazed with the hard work [she puts] in, and the results [she achieves].” Running is about racing yourself, and others. Vasquez is looking for a win for her team, but also a win for herself.
Scientific studies have shown that athletes that run, or do another sport often do much better in school, can manage stress very well, and have elevated happiness. Vasquez is grateful for track since it offers her a sort of stress relief. “Track has really helped [her] because it gets some of [her] anger and emotional problems out… [she] can get [her] anger and motivation out,” states Vasquez. For instance during practices she can listen to music and just run. Simple as that.
Since, this is Vasquez’s final year at MHS, it’s time for her to apply to colleges, and there’s a lot of stress involved, along with the normal school work, job, and team to worry about. “[She’s] surprised [she’s] able to manage [it] very well actually,” she explains. Her normal after school day starts off getting as much homework done before practice as possible, then track, and back home to finish the rest of her homework. Sometimes after track she’ll go to work, which she explains is some of her most stressful days. Though in the end all the hassle is worth it. Vasquez believes that “it helped [her] physically, to [stay] in shape… and mentally because it has taught [her] to strive to the best ability [she] can aim [for].” Track has also taught her that she will spend most of her life being very busy, and that it will be hard, but she can do it all if she just motivates herself.
Though Vasquez’s belief is this: running is like life. And if there is one thing to understand about high school it’s that it’s like running a mile on a track- just 4 laps on the outdoor track. The first lap you start off slow, like trying to figure out what classes to take, where to go, trying not to get ahead of yourself, but trying not to go too slow. Quarter mile ends, and you’re off to sophomore year. You start picking up the pace, but still not going too hard to save some energy for later. You know you’re way around the school, you know some of the things you want to pursue. And soon enough you just ran your second lap. Off to junior year, and now you’re even faster than before, still holding out a little bit trying to save as much energy as you can for that last lap. Things are shaping up, you’re getting more things into your brain, and have a good sense where you belong. Finally there’s the last lap. There’s no stopping, and you need to push, run as hard as you can, even if you feel like puking. You’re in the home stretch, so close, almost there. Things are finally becoming real, colleges are looking at you, or you found a job that keeps you alive. You need to go!
Vasquez hopes that she can continue running well into the rest of her life, and plans on running a marathon eventually. Running is where she belongs. She explains that “[she has] found true friends [on the team]... and at the end of the day [her] team doesn’t look at [her] [strangely]” for being her jumpy, “crazy,” motivated self.