Getting To Know USC's Ashlee Gallegos
This is the inaugural 2022 "Getting to Know" feature of the newest additions to the 2022-23 USC Track & Field/Cross Country team. This year's recruiting class is stout from top to bottom, and brings depth at every position. Our initial featured athlete is freshman Ashlee Gallegos, a cross-country runner and long-distance runner for the USC track & field team. Get to see what makes Ashlee tick, as we have the inside scoop ranging from her running lifestyle to what makes her the person she is beyond the track.
Q: What made you choose running as a sport when you started?
AG: My mom introduced me to the sport. She was also a collegiate athlete. She ran at UCSB, and I started in middle school. She introduced me to it and she really inspired me. I looked up to her, so I wanted to follow in her footsteps.
Q: Is she your inspiration for everything that you do?
AG: She pretty much got me interested in the sport, then another big person who influenced my career thus far would be my high school coach. His name is Chase Frazier. He definitely expanded my love for the sport and grew my passion. I owe everything to them, and whatever I do in the future, too.
Q: What's your favorite thing about running? Is it just overcoming something or is it for the fun of it?
AG: I really enjoy racing. I think that it's really cool to see all your training be put to the test. It's interesting because cross country and track are not very forgiving sports. It really shows if you've been putting in the work and are doing all the little extra stuff, like eating the right stuff, getting the right workouts in. I really like racing because it just like shows all your training being tied together to something greater
Q: If you are struggling in a race, how do you overcome that? What do you tell yourself in those situations?
AG: I just think that I put in so much hard work to get to this point. I just want to make my team proud, my coaches proud and my family proud. I just do it all for them and to give back to God's Glory as well.
Q: What made you want to come to USC?
AG: USC had kind of everything I wanted in terms of academic and athletic wise. It's a very prestigious school, which was something I was looking for. Also, the facilities, the staff, the coaches, the team is everything I wanted. It's a great place for athletes and they definitely treat their athletes well; giving them a ton of resources and opportunities, it's just like the perfect place to be an athlete.
Q: You grew up around Orange County. If you had to pick one thing or a few things that you just love about Orange County what would that be?
AG: Definitely the beaches. I went to the beach almost every day during the summer, especially because I love surfing. I think it's a great way to cross train for running, but overall, I fell in love with the beaches in Orange County.
Q: What has been your favorite moment here at USC so far?
AG: Probably our first race. It was super cool to get to run with a new team and a bunch of new girls and see everyone work super hard for that race; to get there and see everyone is super happy after the race, too. I only raced one time. The second time we raced I had COVID, so I didn't go to that one. But the first race was a super cool opportunity and I'm excited for many more to come.
Q: Coming in and joining a new team it can be hard to feel comfortable right away. Was there a moment that it just kind of clicked, where you all were all in sync?
AG: Yeah, I think that that happened during our altitude camp and Mammoth. Everyone bonded a lot and we did this one really hard workout on the final day. After that, everyone was super close, and I think that really helped. Everyone overcame a barrier, and after that, I felt at home here.
Q: What would you say is your perfect day?
AG: Perfect day…probably wake up, do a workout with my team and then go to the beach and just hang out all day and get good sushi for dinner.
Q: For a rest day.. indoor or outdoor?
AG: Probably indoor, just sleeping in my bed.
Q: Is there any movies or shows or anything you love to binge watch?
AG: I really like Grey's Anatomy. That's like my favorite show on Netflix.
Q: What's your favorite food item that that you've had around USC?
AG: I really enjoy Dulce and their matchas. That's literally like my favorite thing ever. I get that almost every day. I'm so in love with it at The Village. That's probably my favorite drink here.
Q: What is your goal for this year, whether it be academically, whether it be socially, whether it be racing, what is your ultimate goal, or what are a few goals that you might have?
AG: I really want to represent the shield. The track shield for track and field cross country is the only sport that has the shield across the chest. Every time I put on a uniform, I just really want to make the school proud and make my coaches and my team proud and give it a good representation. I also just really want to score points for my team, which ties into the other thing.