Exeter Grad earns scholarship
Exeter Union High School Graduate Christian Gonzales is leaving this week to run for Southern Oregon University. He received a scholarship to compete in both Cross Country and Track for SOU.
His story is one for any athlete who suffers an injury and thinks it’s time to call it quits. Half way through Christian’s Junior year of track he suffered a hairline fracture in his foot that was misdiagnosed by 2 doctors as Plantar Fasciitis, a painful condition that does not allow the arch of your foot to stretch.
He was forced to abandon the rest of the track season and rest his injury for the upcoming cross country season. When the cross country season started he could still feel some pain in his foot but it was on and off.
Now in his Senior year the pain again became unbearable but this time a MRI revealed it was not Plantar Fasciitis, but a hairline fracture that had now become a broken navicular bone in his right foot.
With his foot in a cast and no running allowed for 14 weeks, his senior year of athletics was over. Rather than focusing on the things he couldn’t do, Christian shifted his focus onto what he could do.
He changed his eating habits to maintain the light weight needed for a distance runner, no more junk food. He worked on drills that didn’t require running to improve his form. After the cast was removed he was cleared to swim but only allowed to use his arms, no kicking.
And the final refocus, Christian became a 4.0 straight A student his senior year. In his first year out of high school Christian enrolled only as a part time student to preserve his college eligibility and spent the next 12 months putting in miles and making sure his foot was back to full strength.
In the fall of 2012 he enrolled at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia to start his running career again. After a good season that earned him Giant of the Year in cross country, all the hard work and hundreds of lonely miles he had ran was about to payoff. In track Christian was the CVC Conference Champion in the 10,000 Run, 1500 run, and runner-up in the 800 Meter run.
He was voted Athlete of the Meet by all the coaches of the conference. Next he went on to win the NorCal Regional Championships in the 1500 Meters.
And finally, against the top runners at the Jr. College California State Meet, Christian placed second to the number one runner in the nation and defeated the number three runner in the national to claim All American status in the 1,500.
His new found focus in his studies also paid off as SOU offered him an academic scholarship in addition to the athletic scholarship. Christian’s next big test will come in September when he lines up to complete in the Sanford University Cross Country Invitational.