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Gonzales playing the mental game
Published 9/11/2012 6:00:00 AM
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Courtesy of WSU athletics communicationsCross-country runner Andrew Gonzales takes on all challenges.

Studying psychology while running for the WSU Cross Country team gives Andrew Gonzales an edge in overcoming the mental game.

Fascinated by the human mind, Gonzales knows how to deal with pressure. He has dealt with many obstacles in life but finds ways to surpass struggles and achieve greatness.

“I’m in that mental state of mind where I’m not going to give up, and I keep going,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales has suffered injuries during most of his career as a WSU cross-country runner, but he still finds a way to keep going: He broke a seven-year WSU indoor track facility record, ran an 8-minute, 55-second Steeplechase and was 18th overall on the West Coast over the summer.

Gonzales said he owes all his thanks to his father for pushing him to be best runner possible. His father, a talented boxer, helped him build endurance for long distance running during the offseason through workouts.

“My father would be there for me during the winter by doing clocking splits,” Gonzales said. “He always pushed me and knew I could be something good.”

Those expectations have translated off the track as well. Gonzales is the first one in his family to go to college, and sometimes the pressure to do everything right can become overwhelming, he said.

“It’s a lot of pressure sometimes with my dad and mom’s expectations,” Gonzales said. “I just try to do everything right.”

Gonzales’ passion for running started in the eighth grade when he won his first race by a landslide while attending school in Texas. Originally from the Tri-Cities, Gonzales’ family moved to Texas and lived there from the seventh grade into part of his freshman year of high school.

“Living in Texas was nice because of the system that was provided for me with cross-country,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales became a track star in high school and was recruited by former WSU Head Coach Jason Drake. Gonzales said he had no doubt where he wanted to go to school after his visit to WSU, and signed immediately with the school.

“I loved it here,"he said."The atmosphere, the campus and the team. I wanted to train with the best coach, team and resources.”

Now set up with a path to success, Gonzales plans to use these tools to help channel the pressure he’s dealt with into victories on and off the course this year.

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