RCC cross country athlete sets example for teammates on and off the track

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(Photo courtesy of Briana Rodriguez)
By Mya Castro 

Throughout the Riverside City College women’s cross country season, Briana Rodriguez has become a top runner for her team.

With about seven years of running experience for cross country under her belt, Rodriguez has remained one of the top five runners for RCC. At the team’s most recent race at Vanguard, Briana placed 12th overall out of 74 girls. Rodriguez’s outstanding work ethic and race times have helped the team’s placement in four of its meets.

As she continues to stay motivated and eager to improve, Rodriguez feels great about the season and can’t wait to see what happens in the future. 

“I feel like it’s been really great, I’m in the best condition I’ve ever been in and I’m just excited for the season and for state,” Rodriguez said.

Like many other athletes, the sophomore did not get to compete or train with her team last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rodriguez found that challenging but persevered and continued to work hard looking forward to the next season. 

“It’s easier to slack off when you’re not at school and they’re (the coaches) not watching you but one thing I did was get a gym membership,” Rodriguez said. “I was going everyday to the gym to keep in shape and I wasn’t doing a lot of mileage but I would just run on the treadmill.”

Rodriguez’s hard work during the off season and the beginning of this season has not gone unnoticed. Her teammates believe that she sets the example of what everyone on the team should be going after this season. 

“Her running performance has been consistently progressive which not only helps our team scores during competition but she serves as an excellent example to our fellow teammates,” Briana Mendez-Espain, a runner on the women’s team, said. 

Laila Wright, a friend and teammate of Rodriguez, believes that Rodriguez has a talent like no other when it comes to training and competing and is why she plays such an important role on the team.

“Briana is an asset to the team because she has natural talent,” Wright said. “She is one of our top girls and she makes it look easy.” 

Outside of training, the star runner remains focused on her studies, spends time with family and friends and works a graveyard shift. 

As a biology major, Rodriguez likes to plan out her week for a less stressful environment to work in. 

“I already have everything scheduled and planned for the week so I try to stay on track, I also work too and it’s kinda hard balancing all that out at the same time,” said Rodriguez. “I enjoy what I do and I love running so as long as I keep everything on plan it turns out okay at the end of the week.”

As Rodriguez continues to put in the work for her academics, the future biology graduate hopes to become a pharmacist and live financially stress free. 

“I want a job that makes me financially stable and it’s also something that I like,” Rodriguez said. 

While school, work and sports may be stressful for Rodriguez, spending time with her family is always something she enjoys doing in her free time. 

 “I always go out with my family.” Rodriguez said. “We like traveling just for the weekend anywhere from Tijuana to San Diego to Las Vegas.” 

Along with family, the hot wing and boba lover also enjoys spending time with her friends whenever she can because she knows her free time is limited. When asked about her favorite place to get boba, Rodriguez was excited to share the best spot in town.

“My favorite boba spot is Boba Time,” Rodriguez said. “I get the Oreo boba tea and it’s so good.” 

 Wright can attest to Rodriguez’s sweet personality not only during training but outside of it as well when spending time with her. 

“I’ve hung out with Briana a few times outside of training and I can say she is such an amazing person,” Wright said. “She is funny and always has a smile on her face.” 

As Rodriguez gets further into the season and school year, she gives one key piece of advice for younger athletes who also may be struggling. 

“I would say honestly you just need to set a schedule and have everything planned, I feel like that is the only way you can get through it,” Rodriguez said. “You just have to love what you do because it’s not easy.”

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