Beyond the Game: Jose Angel Gonzalez

Sports Reporter

Jose Angel Gonzalez, freshman cross-country runner, hasn’t always been passionate about running.

Gonzalez hated it until sixth grade, when he asked for help from his father, Joe, in order to win a girl’s heart.

“I liked this girl that was on the track team, and I said, ‘Hey! My dad’s a cross country and track coach,” Jose said. “‘I can totally whip butt. I can win the meet, and she’ll fall in love with me.’”

Joe was the track and cross-country coach at the high school Jose would eventually attend. He was more than willing to help his son on his mission.

“You know how little boys go crazy for little girls,” Joe said. “He showed up one day saying, ‘I’m going to run, and I need shoes.’”

Jose finished second-to-last in both of his races. He didn’t win the young girl’s heart, but his passion for running was born.

“The girl didn't like me, but I said, ‘You know what, I'll just keep running to stay in shape,’” Jose said. “So that’s my story. That’s how I started running.”

Jose continued to participate on the track team throughout junior high school. His father became his trainer, though they bumped heads a little at the beginning.

“Coaching your son is very difficult,” Joe said. “Like any teenager, he thought his parents didn’t know anything. I’d tell him to drink some water, and he’d just say, ‘Oh it’s okay, I’ll be fine.’ He was really more into his friends until things got serious and he started not placing. He realized maybe he should start listening to me.”

By the end of junior high, Jose had made his way up the ranks. He was district champion at the eighth grade level in the two-mile race.

Then his performance skyrocketed. He began training with his dad and the high school cross-country team the summer before his ninth-grade year.

During high school, he was awarded first-team All-District and first-team All-Valley, as well as Most Valuable Player for the cross country and track team in his senior season.

“He broke several school records and meet records his junior year,” Joe said. “I graduated from the same high school, and he broke the record that I had set. It was pretty cool. There’s a board on the wall, and he got to take my name down and replace it with his.”

Jose broke his dad’s record in the 3200 meter run with a time of 9:25:74. Then he broke his own record with a 9:24:70 time his senior year.

Now at Texas State, Jose has already set a high bar for himself. The Mission, Texas native placed in the top three for the Bobcats in all of this season’s meets. He has been able to come up with a routine before the race to relieve some of the stress.

“There’s definitely more pressure now since I’m doing so well,” Jose said. “What I do is write in my journal. I’ll write all my thoughts and feelings about the race. During the runs I’ll visualize what it’s going to look like, how hard it’s going to be. I imagine the athletes that are going to be there. I imagine what I’m going to eat that day. Everything’s very visual.”

Jose credits his religion, parents and team and Coach Bryan Jackson for being his support system.

“I’m really religious, and I go to (Our Lady of) Wisdom (University Parish) on campus,” Jose said. “They’re the best people ever. They had given me advice on how to pray before a race. I pray every day before I go to bed and before I run.”