February 23, 2007

Banales Back on the Field Again

By John Philip Wyllie

With the season now over for the Otay Ranch Mustangs Women’s Soccer Team, many of its players will be enjoying several more hours of free time each day, but not Chloe Banales. Fall, winter or spring, you will find her out on the field competing for one of the Mustangs many athletic teams.

In the fall she was a main cog in the school’s varsity field hockey team. This winter, she competed on the Mustangs varsity soccer team and on Monday this three-letter winner began training for the upcoming track season. An asset to any team, Banales seems to have an almost unlimited amount of energy. No matter which coach you speak to, they will pretty much tell you the same thing.

“She is just an incredible person. She is really nice, really bright and a really hard worker. You couldn’t ask for anything more,” according to Mustangs track coach, Ian Cumming.


Triple threat Chloe Banales has no trouble keeping busy. Photo: J.P. Wyllie

“For somebody that maybe focuses a little more on other sports, she is an incredible half-miler. She ran a 2:30 – 2:32 last year. In most places, that would make her the school’s top half-miler.”

“Chloe picked up (field hockey) very quickly,” according to Tamara Holmes who coached her last fall. “She has been a starter on the varsity team for two years. She’s a very skilled player and we are looking for her to be an impact player next season. Chloe remains calm under pressure and has strong leadership skills.”

One thing she doesn’t have is a clear favorite.

“I grew up with soccer, but I was introduced to field hockey last year and I really liked that. It was a lot of fun. I came out for track for the first time last year and that was fun too. The atmosphere was great and I enjoyed competing. At this point, my favorite might be field hockey, but I don’t know.”

The Mustangs are the defending Mesa League champions in track and Banales reached the CIF quarterfinals in her event, the 800 meter run. The Mustangs have a team that numbers nearly 200, so many of her friends compete along side of her. For somebody as personable as Banales that is important.

Ethnically, Banales might best be categorized as a “Heinz 57”. She is proud to call herself part, Dutch, Irish, Korean, Chinese, Mexican and of course American. Spanish was her first language.

“We grew up in Portrero and we had a live-in that only spoke Spanish. Spanish was my first language, but once I got into kindergarten English took over. I can still understand Spanish, but I can barely speak it. I’m trying to get it back.”

Somehow between competing on three school teams and her club soccer and field hockey teams she finds time to study. She has performed equally well in the classroom. With a G.P.A. currently around 3.6 she is starting to look at colleges.

“(Keeping her grades up requires) a lot of late nights, but it is all worth it. I make a lot of friends through sports and I enjoy keeping in shape. It has helped me to manage my time and prepare for my future. I’d like to stay in sports so I think I’ll pursue physical therapy or sports medicine.”

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