Coach pushes athletes

Eric Pacheco, Fringe Editor

Going the distance for her athletes is what the new track coach is all about.

Gabriella Jimenez, better known as Coach Gabi, first met the Arlington tea

m up in Big Bear at a running camp.

“I am friends with the coach at Ramona and have been helping out at their running camp for years. I had made it a goal of mine to attend camp last year and while chaperoning I had met the Arlington team. 

“(Former) Coach Terry (Mitchell) had asked me to come speak to the team a couple of months later and the distance runners began asking him if I could join the coaching staff and I accepted their offer,” said Jimenez.

After accepting, she came to Arlington in August just in time for  Cross Country season.

She created strenuous workouts that made the athletes want to come

back for extra help.

“I love how much hard work and effort she puts in to making our workouts,

writing out our splits and motivating us to be the best that we can as athletes and as people. She’s so caring and compassionate and is just amazing all around,” said sophomore Anna Raspudic.

Jimenez’s dedication to her athletes was born from a tragedy she suffered about a year ago. 

“I went on a bike ride with my dad to Lake Perris, and while riding down

a neighborhood street, a  car collided with me sending me into a nearby tree at an estimated 60 mph, according to my injuries,” said Jimenez.

“I was in the ICU for eight weeks with tons of injuries. I was unconscious for the first three weeks but physical and occupational therapy would come in a few times a week to move me around. Once I was conscious, they helped me sit in a chair and later, walk in a walker.”

Jimenez explained she had gone through occupational therapy in order to help with the extensive nerve damage. She also decided to help herself through her own physical therapy, denying other help.


“I mainly just wanted my life back. My accident was fairly horrific. Most people thought I shouldn’t have been alive. I felt like I had so much more to do with my life and I couldn’t wait to be back out there doing the things I loved, not stuck with my bones broken and connected to a monitor,” said Jimenez.

After she left the hospital, Jimenez got back into physically challenging herself and running again. Her accident has inspired many of the runners on the team.

Most of the team knows about Jimenez’s accident but in no way does that hinder her coaching.

”Her story does motivate me, but I’m not thinking about it all the time; sometimes I forget because she’s so strong about it. She was just one of the supervisors for the teams during the Big Bear trip, but she did run with us and once we saw that, we knew we couldn’t slow down,” said Brendon Lopez.

After coaching the team for a while, it was clear that Jimenez had a talent and love for it.

”What I love the `most about coaching is the relationships I build with the athletes, making the connection with them and watching them begin to believe in themselves as the season goes on,” said Jimenez.