Delzie Gamez refused to allow the coronavirus pandemic stop her from enjoying her high school athletic experience.
The Sierra High School sophomore parlayed the pandemic into Athlete of the Month honors at Sierra in April.
While COVID-19 scrapped the sports calendar last year and remixed the fall schedule this season, Gamez didn’t shy away from joining other sports. She started her high school career playing volleyball in the fall and running track in the spring. This year she took up swimming and cross-country.
“Watching a student-athlete grow is one of the best parts of my job,” said Bob Bentley, Sierra High School activities and athletic director. “Being able to watch Delzie take on new challenges gave me a sense of pride in our students.”
Rather than twiddling her thumbs and waiting for her primary sports to begin, Gamez welcomed new challenges in swimming and cross-country and shared comraderies with her new teammates.
“My biggest hope is that Delzie inspires our students to think outside their comfort zone in the future,” Bentley said. “Being able to step away from what they know and trying something now will open their future to new possibilities.”
Did you see your first two years of high school being controlled by a pandemic?
Definitely not. When I first heard about (the coronavirus), I thought it would not come out here. Next thing I know, schools are getting shut down and track season is canceled.
What have you discovered about yourself during the past year?
I learned I really love swimming. Last year, so many people said I should do swimming, and I didn’t know if I wanted to do it.
I tried it this year and I loved the environment, all the girls on the team and especially the coaches. They were very supportive and understanding.
What was the most memorable moment?
When the coaches told me I was advancing really fast, that I showed great promise and I should join the club team. It’s not my main sport, but that meant so much to hear that from the coaches.
How did you find your passion for track and field?
I started track in seventh grade and I ended up becoming a long distance runner. I ended up breaking the Panorama (Middle School) record in the mile. I love the idea of being independent, and if you mess up — you can’t blame anyone but yourself.
How did you feel after breaking the mile record at Panorama?
I was so tired after the race but I remember the next day my coach came up to me and said, “You broke Panorama’s record.” I looked at him like, “What? No I didn’t.” Then he told me the old record was 7 minutes and I got 6:30. I told my parents when I got home and I was so excited. That was such a proud moment.
What’s something outside of sports people might not know about you?
I don’t have social media.
How do you fill your time if you’re not on social media?
My routine is: I wake up; go to school; get out and go straight to practice. With my college classes, I have to take care of that homework, too. Once I’m finished with that, it’s time for bed. I don’t have much time to do other stuff besides watch TV, and I rarely do that.
How have you managed to avoid the social media wave?
It’s good to take a break from your phone and interact with people and have a social life. The more interaction I get, the better.