Not many high school juniors wake up at 5:30 a.m. every day to go biking before school and are in bed by 9 p.m. But 16 year-old Cybelle Cozart does, and the hard work is paying off.
As a freshman, Cozart was not one of Corona del Sol’s standout cross country runners, and it didn’t seem like she ever would be.
“She has improved so much over the past three years,” said coach Ari Rodriguez. She she has gone from one of our slowest JV runners as a freshman to a top varsity runner as a junior. She has really put in a lot of work between now and then and it has really paid off .”
Cozart started running for fun in the fifth grade, but it wasn’t until later when it became a bigger part of her life.
“I didn’t really start getting into it until eighth grade, when it became something I wanted to do every day,” said Cozart.
The summer following Cozart’s freshman year was when her running career started taking off. Inspiration and motivation began to push her.
“Someone very influential recently died and he was a very good runner and I don’t know if that was what pushed me, but I think that he really inspired me to get out there,” Cozart said about a former teammate.
At the end of track season, Cozart saw where she wanted to be as a runner when cross country season came along. Summer was the perfect opportunity to get to that next level.
“I had track season which really showed me what being fast and achieving your goals can do for you,” Cozart said. “So I really started working over the summer to get up there and I improved so much over the next year.”
Now a top second-year runner, Cozart is a team leader. Whether it be running tips or diet suggestions, Cozart acts as a mentor to the younger girls.
“People rely on me for things now that they didn’t when I wasn’t one of the top runners,” Cozart said.
Cozart’s strict schedule and dedication to the sport makes her a successful runner. She’s at practice everyday and if she misses, she makes up for it. Cozart also makes academics a priority as well.
“This year I’m very academically driven because it’s really gotten through my head that I need to pick it up and do the best I can in both running and school to get somewhere in life,” Cozart said.
She’s hoping to receive a scholarship and continue running in college.
“When I’m running I like how I know I can go anywhere and I know I have speed to go there, and that I can beat someone at something,” Cozart said.
Already setting new personal records this season, it looks like Cozart will have the speed to take her team to new heights.