“Her will is unforgiving. When she sets her mind to something, athletically or academically, she doesn’t know any other way,” said Braz. “Her drive is comparable to any athlete I’ve ever been around, especially a high school runner.”
When Rocha says she didn’t expect to win the Northeast Regional title, which she did by a wide margin in New York two weeks ago, it is genuine. When she says she’s happy to be in the top 40 nationally, it isn’t lip service. It’s a tremendous accomplishment to go a regional and finish in the top 10 to qualify three times.
Running for a national title is not pressure for Rocha; it’s a gift. That measured, gracious approach is how she was raised.
“The discipline she has, I believe comes directly from her parents,” said Braz. “Some of her physical traits may be genetic, but her internal drive is from her parents. They’ve given her amazing values and she believes in them.”
That drive may push her to take over sometime during tomorrow morning’s race. She hasn’t been tested much this fall, and she’ll be fresh. Her times have been 30-40 seconds better than last year on comparable courses and an effort like that tomorrow would likely put her near the top of the field.
If that strength carries her to victory, she’ll feel fortunate and will celebrate with a humble smile and with pride. First for Peabody, then for her team, for her family and lastly for herself.
Just like her mom and dad.