Senior Spotlight: Megan Gonzalez

Competing+in+South+Bay+Championships%2C+Varsity+Cross+Country+runner+Megan+Gonzalez+%2812%29+keeps+the+pace+quick+in+the+3200m+race+at+West+on+Saturday%2C+May+15.+Gonzalez+has+been+a+member+of+the+cross+country+team+for+all+four+years+and+has+consistently+won+in+her+events%2C+breaking+PR+%28personal+record%29+after+PR.+She+expressed+how+running+%E2%80%9Chas+shown+me+that+hard+work+really+pays+off%2C+and+through+it+I+have+made+friendships+that+will+last+a+lifetime.+It%E2%80%99s+made+my+high+school+career+immensely+better+and+I+couldn%E2%80%99t+imagine+high+school+without+it.%E2%80%9D

Art/Photo by Sullivan Kolakowski

Competing in South Bay Championships, Varsity Cross Country runner Megan Gonzalez (12) keeps the pace quick in the 3200m race at West on Saturday, May 15. Gonzalez has been a member of the cross country team for all four years and has consistently won in her events, breaking PR (personal record) after PR. She expressed how running “has shown me that hard work really pays off, and through it I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s made my high school career immensely better and I couldn’t imagine high school without it.”

Lauren Ng, Sports & Opinion Editor

   Broken the school record for the fastest 3-mile run? Volunteered with CSF? On track to attend university? Check, check, and check. With just a couple of weeks at West High left, Megan Gonzalez (12) reflects on her years as an athlete, recounts some of her favorite memories, and shares a message for all.

   A member of cross country (XC) for all four years of high school, Gonzalez is no ordinary runner. She has left quite the mark on the sports community, having accomplished a number of milestones and received several titles. Gonzalez was once recognized on the All State team, as well twice on the All CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) team. Even further, she was crowned the Individual League Champion – every single year she ran.

   While involved in XC for the entirety of high school, Gonzalez was only active for three years: during her junior year, she suffered a torn ACL and was unable to run. Unfortunately, it still affects Gonzalez to this day. “It was extremely hard to overcome mentally and I’m still trying to learn how to race again,” she shared. To accommodate, some of Gonzalez’s workouts have been modified for her knee. Since she tore her ACL, Gonzalez has yet endured more injuries. “It took me two full years to finally get back to where I was,” she explained. Also involved in West Track, Gonzalez’s numerous achievements are a testament to her dedication and talent as an athlete.

   Gonzalez’s years in XC have brought challenges, but have also given her meaningful experiences with teammates. Her favorite memory dates back to 2017, when West XC made its long-awaited return to the state finals. “We took a bus to Clovis and had to stay at a Motel 6 because no one even thought we were going to make it… I roomed with two seniors and a sophomore and the four of us had such a fun time,” Gonzalez remembered. While no teammate had particularly high expectations as the race approached, the experience became her most memorable yet: “We just went out and ran for fun!”

   Throughout her time at West, Gonzalez has made memories not only as an athlete but as a student as well. Her favorite class of high school was English 2 Honors with Mrs. Altenberg. The assignment that stood out most to Gonzalez was slam poetry: a style of spoken word displayed through passionate performance. This remains to be Gonzalez’s favorite memory from the class. “Everyone really poured out their emotions into their poems,” she expressed. Both on the track and in the classroom, Gonzalez’s time at West has helped pave the path for her future. 

   With the high school finish line just a few steps away, Gonzalez has already solidified plans for the next chapter of her life. She will be headed to George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. While majoring in International Relations, Gonzalez will also be involved in both Cross Country and Track at GWU, which is a Division 1 sports school. Parting ways with West, she encourages all students to join a school club or sport: “It is a very memorable experience and makes high school 10 times better.”