Part of transitioning into adult life is leaving one’s comfort zone. Leaving home and the people you’ve relied on for so long, to take a gamble on yourself.
Jose Angel Gonzalez, a senior on the cross-country team, understood that concept and took the first step toward achieving greater things.
Gonzalez hails from Mission, Texas, a small town in the southernmost tip of Texas and one of several cities that make up the Rio Grande Valley.
Gonzalez’s initial decision to join cross-country was much more romantically driven than the average athlete.
“I hated running. It wasn’t until the sixth grade when I liked this girl and she joined the track team,” Gonzalez said. “I said maybe if I join the track team, I might get strong because I was kind of a chubby guy.”
Though things got off to a rocky start, Gonzalez decided to stick with cross country and eventually realized it came to him naturally.
“I got last place in my sixth-grade track meet,” Gonzalez said. “I thought to myself, I’m going into junior high so I’ll just keep up with it, and it just turns out I was good.”
While it wasn’t an instant love affair, Gonzalez now looks back fondly, and credits running cross country for so many of the things he has experienced in his life.
“If I wasn’t looked at by coaches I would’ve never gone outside the valley; if I didn’t leave the valley, I wouldn’t have come to Texas State,” Gonzalez said.
While confident and excited about being away from home, Gonzalez was still aware of the difficulty of leaving. Part of what helped continue to push him forward wasn’t the need to prove his naysayers wrong. Instead, Gonzalez chose a more positive approach.
“There’s people who say, ‘Oh you’re going to go up there and you’re going to come back with your tail between your legs,’” Gonzalez said. “When I left, I didn’t want to leave with anger. I was like ‘this is where I’m from, I’m going to represent over here now.’”
In high school, Gonzalez was coached by his father. Although, he may not have enjoyed it at the time, Gonzalez looks back fondly on his days being coached by his father.
“When I was a freshman going into college, I was so excited to have a different coach,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez enjoys the team and mental aspects of the sport, and strongly believes they’ve helped to prepare him for the real world.
“I like that you have to be focused; you have to be a team player,” Gonzalez said. “What you learn from athletics helps you translate when you graduate and go for a career.”
Gonzalez is a construction science and management major and is open to a variety of different paths post-graduation.
“I plan on working for a company and being project manager,” Gonzalez said. “I definitely want to see myself go into grad school.”
Gonzalez’s time in San Marcos has helped him clarify some of his passions and future goals.
“I like the environment. Coming to San Marcos, I realize that the environment is so important,” Gonzalez said. “It’s so beautiful here, and I want to protect that.”