Natalie Varela of Gulliver Prep is one of the top freshman in the state of Florida and the rest of the country. Learn a little more about her and see her summer training log as she prepares for the upcoming 2016 cross country season.
Her credentials speak volumes as the 2015 AAU 13/14 year old XC National Champion, Miami-Dade County XC Runner of the Year, Florida 2A track and field runner up at 1,600 and 3,200 meters, 800 meter MS champion and anchor of the 4x800 MS state champion team.
How did you get started in the sport?
"I happened to be doing hill training on a hot muggy day in Miami for USBJJ (MMA) Championships when I spotted the Miami Elite Track Club practicing. I was always fast, so I asked the coach Danny Aguas if I could train that day and the rest is history. I've never been back on the mat. At least not until my track and XC career is over."
You've had some great mentors and coaches in your young career. Who are those people who have had major impacts in your running?
I was very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and have the right people to guide me along the way. Danny is a great coach and Miami Elite is a national powerhouse in distance running. Once at Gulliver MS, I was very fortunate to have Mike Ward guide me on my high school journey. Coach Ward has a wealth of knowledge, coaching at the University of Miami for 16 years and leading them to various ACC Championships. Patience Natalie was his best advice be patience and don't try to pass on the curves. Lesson learned. Last, but not least Jesus Batista a staple in the South Florida running seen and is helping me out this XC country season. Let's see what this year brings.