Lilliana Bonner

Junior Violeta Alonso posing (left) alongside her teammate after meet. Junior Jonnathan Gonzalez (right) in the middle of training for upcoming meet.

Athlete Spotlight: Violeta Alonso and Jonnathan Gonzalez

November 26, 2018

Every two weeks, CavsConnect will be selecting two exemplary athletes and recognize them for their athletic prowess and ability in their sport. Below are the athletes spotlighted for their performances between  Nov.12 and Nov. 24.

A Run in the Sun!

Junior Violeta Alonso began running in her sophomore year when she became part of the Cavalier Cross Country team. Since joining the team, she has not only figured out a way to manage her time more wisely, but the sport has instilled qualities of perseverance and commitment within her. Inspired by the motivational environment that cross-country creates, she decided to join the team in order to further pursue her passion for running.

Since then, Alonso’s training has consisted of long runs, up to nearly four miles, around Coral Gables Senior High or, on the occasion, to the University of Miami. Throughout her constant training, Alonso has been working effortlessly to hopefully reach her goal of running in the state championships this year alongside her teammates. Due to her long and rigorous days of practice after school, she was able to compete at Regionals which would give them the opportunity to compete at States. Unfortunately, they placed in seventh overall as a team and did not move on to compete at States. Despite not moving on, Alonso still keeps her head up high for next year’s season in hopes of working even harder to both better herself as an athlete and to reach her goal of making States.

Violeta Alonso
Violeta Alfonso alongside her teammates at Larry and Penny.

Were you on the cross country team previously and, if you were, for how long?

Yes, I joined the team my sophomore year so this was my second year.

What inspired you to start running?

What inspired me to start running was that I wanted to be part of a team and I liked the sport.

What does your training consist of?

My training consists of different runs, ranging from shorter runs on the track to longer ones outside of school, including running to UM sometimes. Also, once a week, we do leg and cardio workouts.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of the cross country team?

My favorite thing about being part of the cross country team is to be able to form such a strong bond with my teammates and coaches and to encourage each other to do better.

How do you balance your athletics with academics?

It is not complicated to manage athletics with academics as long as you learn to manage your time; I usually have time to do both.

What were your goals for the season?

My goal for the season was to improve my time as much as possible and to get to States with my team, but we only got to the regional championship.

What is one of the best moments that you have experienced with your team?

One of the best moments I have experienced with my team was the day of Regionals. Our goal that day was to beat Coral Park in order to place among the top six and get to States. We all pushed ourselves really hard during the race, and most of us even did our best time that day. However, in the awards ceremony, we found out that we placed seventh as a team, meaning that we did not make it to states. Immediately, we all started crying of frustration because we wanted to go to States. Although I would’ve been really happy to reach this goal, I was proud of what we had all accomplished. I will always remember this moment as the most motivational one we had as a team.

What did you achieve this season?

This season I improved my time like I would’ve never imagined. I started the season with a time of almost 25 minutes, and in my last race, I ran a 21:25 minutes. This was all because of my coaches’ motivational words and my teammates’ support.


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Just Keep Swimming!

Unsure of what swimming would lead him to, junior Jonnathan Gonzalez joined the Gables Swimming team his freshman year and has developed a strong passion for the sport. He was inspired to start swimming in order to follow his father’s footsteps, who was once a professional swimmer in Cuba. Gonzalez’s goal this season was to work even harder than he did before in order to have a better season than last year. As a result, the team performed beyond their expectations after starting off the season undefeated.

When Gonzalez is not training or swimming, he is actively involved throughout the student body. He is currently part of the Academy of Finance and the Interact club. Outside of the school environment, he actively receives piano lessons to polish his skills that have been improving for almost nine years. In order to balance his academics with athletics, he usually tries to finish his work the moment he receives it in order to make time for his training and family. Due to his hard work and dedication, Gonzalez was able to maximize his potential this year on the swimming team. He originally joined the team in hopes of meeting new people, but the experience has given him an opportunity to further pursue his love for swimming once he graduates high school.

Jonnathan Gonzalez
Junior Jonnathan Gonzalez swimming to success.

Were you on the swimming team previously and, if you were, for how long?

I have been on the swimming team since summer of freshman year.

What inspired you to start swimming?

My father was a professional swimmer in Cuba. I guess I just wanted to follow in his footsteps and see where it led me. Now, I am also looking towards a college scholarship with swimming.

What does your training consist of?

Well, it consists of an hour of dry land from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. and then we head to the pool from 6 p.m-8 p.m., usually working different strokes depending on the day. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we do breaststroke sets, usually 8 to 12 of them. Then, we do 200 breaststrokes on 3:30 work and rest periods to go along with our normal warm-up and a freestyle main set consisting of 200s and 100s. After the breaststroke main set, we usually do sprints and finish up with a 200.

Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities?

Yes, I am. Other than swimming, I have been playing piano for nine years and have private lessons. I also play guitar and am part of other extracurricular clubs at our school, like Interact.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of the swimming team?

Definitely my favorite thing about being on the swimming team is the diversity we have. We have club swimmers with experience and then swimmers that are learning, and it’s just a great experience being able to teach them and be able to interact with all of them. We have all become a huge family not only in the pool but outside the pool as well.

How do you balance your athletics with academics?

Balancing academics with athletics is a little tough. I usually get home right around 2:40 p.m.and get to work right away to try and get as much finished before 4:30 p.m., when I start heading towards practice. After practice, I come back home, shower, eat, and then keep working on my work until around 12 in the morning depending on how much work I have. On the weekends, I usually try and finish it on Friday to at least be able to have the weekend free with friends and family.

What were your goals for the season?

Well, my goals for this season were definitely to achieve personal bests all around and to try to guide our team to an even better season than last year. All around, I think we did a good job. We started off undefeated for the first time ever and I think we finished 7-1 or 6-2. I am not entirely sure, but it was definitely one of our best seasons since my time on the team. We got district runner-ups for the third time in as many years.

What is one of the best moments that you have experienced with your team?

Regionals competitions during freshman year were definitely my best moments with the team. It was in Boca Ratón and, on our way there, we had a speaker and we were all jamming out on the bus together as a team. It was just incredible and I’ll never forget it.

What did you achieve this season?

I did achieve personal bests and new times for myself. I was very excited and met new swimmers that I was able to teach and give tips to and made new friends as well in the process.

About the Contributor
Photo of Miguel Lemus
Miguel Lemus, Staff Writer

Miguel Lemus is a junior in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Coral Gables High School.  Lemus is excited to see what the school year will...

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Athlete Spotlight: Violeta Alonso and Jonnathan Gonzalez