Brittnie Munoz, cross country and track runner, is having a year many dream of, but few accomplish.Munoz, senior at Rosemead High, was the fastest runner from across the San Gabriel Valley in CIF Southern Section Div. II or III in a race of more than 5,000 meters with a time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds at the recent state cross country meet.
Munoz ran like she was on fire at the recent Santa Clarita Invitational with the fastest time of the day at 18 minutes, 40 seconds, and also finished with a time of 18 minutes, 42 seconds at the recent Weisenburger Invitational as she set a new course record.
Munoz also posted her personal best of 18 minutes, 20 seconds at the recent Mount San Antonio College race, which gave her the title of the fastest senior in the area.
But the quiet 18-year-old just takes it all in stride and lets her running do the talking for her.
“I love (running),” Munoz said. “The self-satisfaction is great. It’s such an individual thing.”
Her coach Fidel Dominguez said Munoz is close to breaking a 5-minute mile, something that is traditionally very difficult for females.
“It’s great,” Munoz said of approaching the 5-minute mile. “I’ve been working on it for years.”
And working on it she has. Munoz practices and works out almost every day and even has been known to trek up to the thin air of Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains for elevation training.
With all her success in cross country, Munoz said, however, that she actually prefers running track, especially the 1,600 meters, which is approximately one mile.
“I like it because it’s faster,” she said. “I’d rather run speed than distance.”
Munoz said she’d like to attend university out of state, maybe at the University of Portland, because “I want to try something new.”
She added she wants to study business and one day open a running shop.
Munoz said she got into running because of her sister Mallorie, a 2006 graduate of Rosemead High who now is attending the University of La Verne and studying psychology.
“She was running and since she’s my older sister, I wanted to be like her,” Munoz said of how she got started in the sport.
Dominguez, who is in his first year as the Panther coach, said Munoz is a pleasure to coach.
“She just really works hard, so it motivates me to help her,” Dominguez said of Munoz.
“I tried to build her slowly, so it wasn’t like a huge switch from other coaches she’s had.
“She’s a really good leader with the team. All the top female runner look up to her.”
And that must be why at one point the team was ranked 14th in Div. III, something unheard of at Rosemead as the team won the Mission Valley League championship undefeated with Munoz being named “Athlete of the Year.”
Munoz also had words of praise for Dominguez and his way of coaching.
“The training has been difficult and different, but it works out,” she said. “It’s more to my style.”