Cross Country captains pacing through the pandemic


Courtesy of Valeria Guerra

Valeria Guerra pacing herself during a cross country meet last fall. Guerra and her teammates continue to train while waiting to see if sports will return in the spring.

Keanu Ruffo, Sports Editor

Antonio Calderon and Valeria Guerra’s abilities to excel during a meet and in the classroom are the reasons why they are both team captains on the Cerritos College Cross Country team.

Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to exercise their leadership skills and athleticism this fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled all spring and fall sports for the year.

For Calderon and Guerra, the pandemic hasn’t stopped them from training at a high level and keeping in running shape.

“I have kept up with workouts by keeping track of my runs and meeting up with one or two friends to stay motivated,” Guerra said.

“Everyday a workout is given and I do the best I can to stick to our training calendar,” Calderon shared.

Both Calderon and Guerra do their best to hit good times during their workouts to keep their performance level high and consistent.

Being named the team captains was a huge accomplishment for both runners and were looking forward to reuniting with their teammates and begin leading the team.

“I do miss competition, but I miss seeing my teammates and coaches much more. This team is like my family and I miss doing workouts and having fun together everyday,” Calderon said

Guerra mentioned how she was excited about meeting the team and getting to know all the new freshmen runners while also staying in a competitive mindset.

“I look forward to being in the competitive environment and getting into that race mindset that I miss.”

In order to become a captain, you must show your coaches the skill set, the strength of having leadership skills and always having a competitive mindset everyday.

For Coach Brian Ramos, Calderon and Guerra’s academics were also a huge reason why he chose them as team captains.

Both student-athletes received the CCCAA Cross Country Academic All-State Scholar-Athlete award last fall for earning higher than a 3.5 GPA.

Calderon earned a 3.87 GPA while Guerra earned a 3.83 GPA.

“I like being focused and organized when it comes to competition and academics so I think that can help my teammates do the same if they know I am doing it,” Guerra said when explaining why she thinks the coaches chose her as team captain.

Calderon on the other hand believes the coaches saw a lot of ambition and heart in him and is the reason he’s a captain for the team.

“I’m the type of person that never quits no matter how hard the obstacle is. I give my best everyday and I try to push my teammates to be their best whether it’s yelling at them or simply giving them advice.”

A topic that has been floating around in all of the minds of JUCO athletes and coaches is what happens if sports don’t return in the spring.

For Guerra, she has her backup plans set and ready in case her athletic career is over.

“If we can’t return in the spring, I plan to stay in shape and continue running for myself. In terms of academics, I am going to continue my studies in becoming a future nurse,” Guerra explained.

Like the majority of other JUCO athletes, Calderon is still undecided in terms of what he wants to do athletically if sports can’t return in the spring.

“If sports aren’t allowed to return this spring then I have no idea what I want to do. As for academics, I plan on transferring to a CSU in the fall of 2021.”

The deadline for the final decision of sports being allowed back in the spring is Dec.18.