Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 39
Athlete of the Week: Beth Rigali
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
There isn’t a whole lot cross-country athlete Beth Rigali doesn’t like about running. A junior at St. Joseph High School, Rigali has been outrunning the competition this season.
Her passion for running and boundless determination helped propel the St. Joe girls’ cross country team to the state race in Fresno at the end of November.
Following in the footsteps of her sister, a former Knights cross-country runner, Rigali joined the team her freshmen year. She’s been running track since she was in third grade.
While Rigali acknowledges that it can be a painful sport, she said it’s also very rewarding.
“I like the team atmosphere,” she said. “And I love the endorphins you feel when you’re done—the ‘runner’s high.’”
Rigali said there’s always a sense of accomplishment she feels after completing a race that makes all the long miles worth it.
At the Woodward Park State race, Rigali finished 16th out of 140 runners for the Division V race. She finished the 5K course in 19:32, having the best finish for local runners.
“This year was exciting; it was fun running with so many great runners,” she said. “I enjoyed the competition.”
Rigali, who was the student to represent the Knights at the state race last year, was joined this year by the rest of her team.
“Last year as a team we weren’t as focused. This year we worked harder; it was more exciting,” she said.
Knights cross-country coach Luis Escobar has been coaching Rigali for two full seasons now. Escobar said her strengths as a person—determination and discipline—relate directly to her strengths as a runner.
“She makes the sacrifices to be a top athlete,” Escobar said. “She is very determined; that makes her the special person that she is.”
Escobar said that there’s no reason Rigali can’t achieve a place among the top five runners locally, in CIF, and at state.
Next year, Rigali will be entering her senior season of cross-country at St. Joe. To prepare for her final season, she wants to improve her times and her efficiency when running, and to reach her full potential. Rigali said she does want to run in college, but wants to ensure that her academics are lined up first.
According to coach Escobar, academics are another of Rigali’s strengths. While the girls’ cross country team carries a 3.98 team grade point average, Rigali has one of the highest GPAs at the school.
Now that this season has come to a close, Rigali will have a little time off before she starts the track season.
“There’s not much variation in running; sometimes it’s tough,” she said. “But in the end, it always feels good.”