Elizabeth Hernandez finds freedom in the run

Cross-Country student-athlete has found a passion for running in her first year at CHS


J. Dollins

Freshman Elizabeth Hernandez loves to use running to clear her mind.

Colton High freshman Elizabeth Hernandez loves the sound of the crowd as she runs past them towards the finish line.

“I love getting cheered on,” she says.

Elizabeth runs Cross-Country after school. She has not been involved with the sport for long, but is already motivated to do her best.

For a lot of young athletes, the decision to play their sport of choice is usually inherited. Not for Elizabeth. “It was just a feeling I had,” she said about her desire to join Cross-Country. “I felt like I could enjoy this sport.”

She has fallen in love with running and enjoys watching her own progress as she beats her times.

Cross-Country running is a race to finish three miles. It is more about endurance than speed. “My goal for this season is to get a good time and to finish every race,” Elizabeth shared. “I am still working on getting a better time and every race I have ran I finished.”

“Elizabeth is going to be a strong runner,” said her coach Mateo Cisneros. “Making varsity as a freshman is huge. Elizabeth has earned it. I appreciate her attendance at practice and willingness to learn.”

The learning part is also something Elizabeth excels at. She is currently enrolled in honors classes, and is part of the AVID program. “I am doing well with school,” she said. “At times it is difficult, but it is manageable to balance my schoolwork and participate with my team.”

Her AVID teacher, Ms. Cinthia Rivera, agrees. “[Elizabeth] tends to be the leader who keeps everyone on task when they do group activities. I have witnessed Elizabeth encourage two friends to do all their work in my class. After just a couple of weeks, both of those friends raised their F to a B or C.”

That tenacity and desire to put in the extra effort defines Elizabeth both on and off the race course. Running as part of the Cross-Country team allows her to be a teammate and run solo. However, the sport is not only a race against others, it is also a race against the self. 

Elizabeth explains: “You’re tired in the beginning, but you’re tired because you’re thinking about how tired you are, and how you want to stop. But you can only stop when you’re done.”

For Elizabeth, running gives her a chance to free her mind. “I don’t think of nothing because thinking about nothing doesn’t get me tired,’’ she says. “You’re just thinking about crossing the finish line.”

Elizabeth plans to continue running Cross-Country at Colton High. As for college, she wants to run there, too, “If I get the chance to, yeah.” 

Elizabeth has an excellent mindset. And the finish line for her is still well more than three miles away.