Angelica Gonzalez burst onto the York-Adams League track-and-field scene two years ago with a series of brilliant performances.
The Red Lion freshman dominated the competition all season long in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ended up winning the York-Adams championship in both events. Her performance in the 200 (24.79 seconds) is a league meet record.
Gonzalez followed with a personal-best 24.27 in the 200 at the District 3-AAA Meet She won silver medals in the 200 and 100 at districts and a silver medal in the 200 and a bronze medal in the 100 at states.
More appearances on the awards podiums in her sophomore season appeared to be in Gonzalez's future.
However, the joy she felt in 2012 turned to pain and disappointment in 2013 when a hamstring problem forced the Lady Lions' star to the sideline.
Gonzalez was helped off the track at Red Lion after collapsing during a dual meet against Central York. She was unable to compete in the big three season-closing meets — the York-Adams, District 3 and PIAA state events.
"It was extremely hard (not to be able to compete)," Gonzalez said. "I wanted to get out and run and do something I love to do."
After the forced hiatus, Gonzalez is back doing what she loves.
"Things are going well," Gonzalez said on Wednesday. "My hamstring is OK, but it's been a case of getting used to being out there. I've been away so long. I felt a little rusty."
Gonzalez wasn't the only Red Lion member of the girls' team who was injured last season.
"After the first meet, half the girls were injured," Red Lion coach Jason Smith said. "Cassidy Barshinger had stress fractures the first half of the season so we were without our best sprinter (Gonzalez) and best hurdler (Barshinger)."
Gonzalez said the events she'll compete in during dual meets isn't set in stone.
"I could alternate between jumps, hurdles and sprints. Wherever my coach needs me," she said. ""The coaches have taught me everything I know."
Gonzalez is aiming to do her part to help Red Lion repeat what it did in her freshman year: win the York-Adams Division I title.
"We had a lot of people stepping up that year. It was great to be able to contribute to something like that," she said. "I remember my freshman year and sophomore year how much the upperclassmen helped me. It's really great to have an older person help you, and I would like to help the younger people."
Along with serving as a mentor and helping the team chase a division crown, Gonzalez will pursue individual goals.
"I want to get my titles (York-Adams 100 and 200) back, I want to break records in the district 100 and 200, and I want to win states in the 100 and 200," she said.
Gonzalez began her track-and-field career, like many of her peers, at the junior high level, but only when she found out that Red Lion didn't have junior high softball, a sport she played on a club level through sixth grade.
"They (Red Lion) had a junior high track program, so, I thought, why not (track)? I'm fast," she said.
So fast that colleges will almost certainly come calling in the near future with scholarship offers.
"She (Gonzalez) was disappointed last year, but she's focused on this year," Smith said. "This is the year that colleges look toward athletes as far as recruiting."
— Reach Dick VanOlinda at email@example.com.