Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Veronica Ortega, front left, gathers with her friends after signing her National Letter of Intent to run at Fresno Pacific next season.
Cross country runner and track athlete Veronica Ortega will continue a string of Madera South athletes to run cross country and track at Fresno Pacific University.
Former teammate Jonnie Montano helped steer Ortega to FPU and she signed her National Letter of Intent to the university to join teammate Seth Garcia at the school.
“It helped to have Madera South teammates,” Ortega said. “I’m not going to go in not knowing anybody. I’m going there and know people.”
Ortega also felt wanted at FPU and received enough scholarship money to help her out.
“It was good,” she said. “They are giving me a big opportunity to go there. They are helping me out a lot, financially.”
Not only did Ortega continue a Madera South pipeline to Fresno Pacific University, she also stepped in as the bonafide leader of the Stallions girls team, following in the familiar footsteps of Montano, Angelica Costilla and Karina Martinez.
“They helped me out a lot in how to get the girls to do what they have to do to become successful,” Ortega said. “I passed it down to Perla Jimenez.”
Ortega had options like CSU East Bay and the University of Pacific, but in the end, she wanted to stay close to home.
“I wanted to get out of Madera and go somewhere far,” Ortega said. “Then, I wanted to stay close. There were other schools that emailed me, but I didn’t respond. It’s here and it’s close. I visited it and liked the campus. Jonnie Montano helped recruit me there. My parents didn’t want me to go far because it would be harder to come back.”
After thoughts of going out of the area to college, Ortega felt her heart was in the Central Valley.
“At first, I wanted to go two or three hours away, but then I changed my mind to here,” she said. “I’m ready to go to Fresno Pacific. It was a good pleasure knowing where I was going to go. It was good to get that stress off. I was able to enjoy the last month.”
Ortega plans to major in kinesiology to become an athletic trainer or to do something with kinesiology.
She is proud to be able to continue the pipeline from Madera South to Fresno Pacific.
“We can be the Fresno Pacific Stallions,” Ortega said.