Pope Francis junior takes third at indoor track All State Championships

REGIONAL
By Carolee McGrath

Alexandra Gonet poses with her parents, Roger and Agnes Gonet after placing third in the 55-meter hurdles at the MIAA Auerbach All State Championship track meet at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 24.

SPRINGFIELD – Pope Francis High School junior, Alexandra Gonet, placed third in the 55-meter hurdles at the MIAA Auerbach All State Championships at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 24. Twenty-four high school runners from across the state competed in the event. The 16-year-old won the 55-meter hurdles at the MIAA Division 5 indoor competition last weekend, which was also held in Boston.

“When I warm up before I run, I’m always nervous so I pray and say an ‘Our Father’ which calms me down and I talk to God. He gives me the strength and knowledge that I know I’m going to do well and whatever happens, happens,” Gonet told iObserve before the meet.

Gonet, who attends St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Springfield, started running 5k races in the sixth grade with her mother, Agnes Gonet. But when she was a freshman, she gave the hurdles a try.

“She’s a really good athlete to work with, super coachable. She picks up things quickly. The hurdles are difficult and she was a superstar right from the beginning,” said John Goda, her coach at Pope Francis.

Gonet says it’s a great honor to represent the Catholic high school at the state level.

Her uncle is Father Charles Gonet, who is now retired. He was the former pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Springfield.

Alexandra Gonet, left, poses with Tanner Longo. Longo broke Pope Francis High School’s record for the high jump at the MIAA Auerbach All State Championships, Saturday, Feb. 24 in Boston.

My uncle, Father Gonet, he prays for me. After every meet, I call him. I love hearing his voice. He wants to see how I did,” she said.

Gonet was also able to cheer on her friend and teammate from Pope Francis, Tanner Longo, who broke the high school’s record in the high jump at the competition.

Gonet hopes to keep running in college and beyond.

“It’s something really special that God’s given me, so I’m grateful I can do this. It’s something that God’s given me to show my faith and show how amazing and wonderful he can be with what he’s given me,” she said.

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