"The passion about it, I've come to love the sport a lot more than usual," said Ashlee Huesca.
Huesca loves running. She's a senior on Coachella Valley's Cross Country and Track teams, with dreams of signing to a college program. A dream, soon to be realized.
"She's very dedicated. She's more lead by example. She's not a very big person, she's really short, so it's easy to, kind of, overlook her and underestimate her abilities. But once you see her in action, you can tell she's the real deal," said Coachella Valley Cross Country coach Gil Contreras. "Her goal from day one was to run at the next level, so since then, she's done everything she's needed to do to prepare herself for it."
Coach Contreras says she was constantly hitting the weights and racking up the miles in training.
"It speaks a lot about who she is as a person," he said.
And she still managed to maintain a high GPA while taking rigorous classes. How is she able to do it all?
"Time management and just, people around you do help, so you do have the support, don't give up, you have to look for the support as well," Huesca said.
As for her drive on the athletic side…
"Staying strong mentally," she said. "Because injuries do happen throughout the season, so you have to be prepared."
While she is on the quieter side, Huesca still embraces her role as a leader.
"Pretty much a third coach. She's my other assistant. If I need anything, tell her to get the kids ready before I get here to practice, by the time I'm here they're ready to go, they're dressed and warmed up. I don't have to worry about if I get here, they're going to be playing around or anything," said Contreras.
But it's not all serious all the time.
"She's hilarious," he said. "We make fun of her because she mumbles a lot, so we tell her that we need translators for her because we don't understand half the things she says. She just goes with it."
As for her favorite part of her journey at Coachella Valley High School?
"Just the friendships and the environment makes it really good," she said. "And the coaches coming by, and pushing us to our limits. They've always been there, so it's a really good support, and the community as well."
It's no secret that Huesca will be greatly missed next year.
"Her excitement for the sport, and her dedication to it. How much she loves running and being out here with everybody else is going to leave a huge hole on the team," Contreras said.