By John Philip Wyllie
While the weather in San Diego is generally mild, the beginning of September often brings with it intense heat. In years like this excessive humidity driven by tropical storms adds to the misery. It is the kind of weather that sends most people scurrying inside for the air conditioning. Despite that searing heat and occasional humidity Bonita Vista junior, Jazmine Jurado spends her afternoons running the hills and canyons adjacent to the school’s South Bay campus. She is currently the Barons top female long distance runner. Jurado knows that sacrifices must be made if she is going to remain in the top spot on what is a very competitive team.
“Jazmine was our number two girl last season and she has made it her mission in life to be number one this year. She is not just fast, she is also strong,” said first year Baron coach, Lou Russo. “Jazmine and Julia Aguilar, last year’s number one girl, have a friendly competition going on and at this point Jazmine has moved ahead of Julia. Jazmine is our pace-setter. She goes right up front (from the beginning) and she stays there as long as she can.”
The combination of Jurado and Aguilar along with impressive freshman, Sofia Garcia gives the Barons a good shot at knocking off incumbent Chula Vista High and claiming a league title. Jurado however, is not taking anything for granted.
“Cross country requires a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of hours spent after school running in the heat. It takes a real toll on your body, but I think it is worth it,” Jurado said.
While some of her teammates come from running families, Jurado does not.
“My dad played soccer and I’ve played that too, but I wanted something I could call my own and long distance running is it. I run track in the spring and cross country in the fall.”
As you might expect, the dedication that she demonstrates in practice often translates into victories during competition.
“I know I will have a good time if I leave everything that I have out on the course. During the week I do hill workouts to prepare for the hills and speed workouts to prepare for the finishes. You need to learn to pace yourself. My goal for this year is to make all-league which would put me in the top ten and I want our team to win in the Mesa League championship. We haven’t done that in a long time, so that would be really great.”
Jurado’s goals are not limited to sports. I plan to go to college where I would like to study some field of medicine. To Jurado, success in athletics and success in the classroom are closely related.
“It takes a lot of discipline and responsibility to be a good long distance runner. The two go hand in hand. You have to get your work done, but at the same time you want to run well, so you have to stay focused on both.”
While some of her friends no doubt wonder why she trains on days that seem more suited for soaking in a refreshing pool, Jurado remains steadfast in her commitment.
“First of all, I am a very competitive person. Running is a real stress reliever and it is a lot of fun for me. I really enjoy my teammates and I like to win and see them win as well.”