SAN DIEGO — A CIF champion in cross country two years in a row now, Mission Vista’s Bella Longo’s love for running has excelled to a much bigger height than she could’ve ever imagined.
“I saw her come in as a freshman and immediately, when she started running with us, you could tell she had the drive and enthusiasm and love for running,” Mission Vista’s Head Cross Country Coach Steve Peppard said.
Most recently, Longo won Mission Vista’s first cross country meet of the season at Guajome Park with a time of 15 minutes and 12 seconds for 2.43 miles – and that was just a tempo run. As one of the best runners in the state, it’s hard to believe just how humble and genuine the senior remains.
“I don’t really think of myself as above other people because I feel like that’s just messed up,” Longo said.
With offers from multiple schools including Duke and the Air Force, Longo’s decision on where she’d take her running career next wasn’t easy. But it ultimately came down to the University of Colorado Boulder.
“It was a really tough decision,” Longo said. “Just because I was trying to figure out where I think I would mesh well, especially with the team and all of that and I think Colorado was the best choice for me.”
Longo made the decision official back in November but has yet to meet the team or see the school in person because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“I FaceTime them and all of that but I’m excited to actually run with them and excited for the college experience,” Longo said.
Before she heads to Colorado though, Longo still has some goals she’d like to accomplish, including doing well in League Championships with her team. In her final year with the team, she takes time to mentor her younger teammates to help them avoid mistakes she’s made.
“Bella has passed on good traits to other athletes and continues to make our team strong,” Peppard said.
Longo said her sister is in Boulder so she’ll have family close by, but she’ll miss having her teammates close.
“I love all of them and they’re all great people,” Longo said. “I’m going to miss running with them.”