February 27, 2014

Wally Gonzalez Strives For Academic and Athletic Success

Written by Calisa Reis '14

Wally Alejandro Gonzalez, a senior on the men's rowing team, has always been an all-around athlete, but he decided to come to Santa Clara and focus his attention on rowing. Aside from helping the broncos make the Petite Finals in 2011, Gonzalez has experienced academic success off the water in studying Biology. As the start of his senior season nears, Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) caught up with Gonzalez to talk about his experience as a rower.

SCU: As a senior, what would you say your role is on the team?

WG: As a freshman, I looked up to the seniors, strived to be like them, row like them, work hard like them. They were the examples that I tried to follow, on and off the water. They showed us how to work hard, work together, and have fun. This year we have the largest senior class we have had in years, eleven seniors, all of us sticking together since freshman year. Being seniors we have realized the opportunity we have to move this program further then before, to really leave a benchmark for the future of the Rowing Program. Whether that be a WIRA champion and IRA bid, or setting the foundation for a more recognized and prestiges program here at Santa Clara. One role would be to do that. There is a saying that has been going around the team, "We're gonna live forever" - Mark Bluth. Another role as a senior is to be an example to the freshmen. Just as the seniors my freshman year did, show them how to work hard, how to work together, and how to have fun.

SCU: In what ways does this year separate from previous seasons?

WG: This season is separate from the past three because this is the last one. There is no next season, there are no more excuses. This is the height of my Santa Clara Rowing career. Each race that goes by this season just leaves me one race fewer to represent Santa Clara, row with my good friends, and push myself to new limits. 

SCU: What is your favorite part of being a Bronco rower? 

WG: The family of brothers that develops. We all see one another every morning and again for afternoon practices and some how we have managed to not be sick of each other. If you asked me freshman year " Who is Mark Bluth, Jim Brennen, and Eric DeFina?" I couldn't tell you. Ask me that question now and the problem would be were to start. Being a program that consists of a majority of walk-on athletes, sets up the program for a diverse set of backgrounds. We are the underdogs. 

SCU: After studying Biology, what job do you hope to pursue after graduation this June?

WG: Well that is a discussion that is talked about everywhere, and true answer is still yet to be discovered. I currently have a lab position in a Cancer Genomic Sequencing lab with Stanford Medical, which will hopefully become a full time position after graduation. The next few years will be resume building until I am ready to apply for Medical School. I also would like to dedicate a little more time to the family company that my parents started up a couple years ago. It is a printing company that has a lot of potential especially if I take advantage of the network here at Santa Clara. So get in touch with me for any printing needs! 

SCU: What goals has the team set for this upcoming season?

WG: BUCK THE ZAGS!! Gonzaga has been in our cross hairs for a while now. To accomplish that, we need to put down some competitive times prior to the WIRA and PCRC regattas. Breaking the 6-minute 2000 meter time puts us right in the fight. Aside from the competition would be to gain more recognition on campus. We are a Varsity Sport, something that not entirely known throughout campus.