By Manny Miguel
Despite many struggles as an openly gay athlete, East Los Angeles College student Adriann Crespo, 19, finds the strength to better herself. A graduate of Schurr High School, Crespo had a strong start to her career in track and field at ELAC.
Before joining track and field at ELAC, Crespo used to play soccer in an outside league during her high school years. She says it meant a lot, to her.
The daily discrimination she faced from both her teammates and coaches led her to leave the game behind.
“I would come back from practices with bruises everywhere, and black eyes,” Crespo said.
Crespo played as a goalie for her team. “My own teammates would lunge at me with their cleats first during practices, and my coaches would just let it happen,” Crespo said.
Crespo soon left soccer altogether, regardless for the love she had for the game. “After a while there was no point to continue to play hard if none of my teammates would have my back,” Crespo said.
When she joined track and field in college, Crespo said that she felt taken care of by her teammates and coaches. She said that people here at ELAC are more open minded and do not discriminate.
Crespo hopes to have a stronger sophomore year, and get to the state championship. She wants to beat her own marks before she transfers from ELAC.
Crespo advanced to 2013 outhern California Track and Field Championships out of the South Coast Conference finals as a freshman.
She hopes to transfer to Humboldt State University or a Division-I college athletic program. She is also determined to earn a master’s in Psychology and Ph.D.’s in both Kinesiology and in Biology.
Crespo said she wants to someday become a physical therapist for a professional team.
She has been coaching high school track and field for the past two years and first started last year at Schurr High School as a volunteer assistant coach. She was then offered a coaching position at San Gabriel High School, where she now is a coach.
Crespo said that a former Schurr High School teammate bullied her after which Crespo became her coach. That individual would make up stories about Crespo that weren’t true.
She plans to continue coaching track and field as a hobby.
Crespo’s biggest influence is her father, who, after serving in the military for 32 years, is now retired.
She would one day want to join either the Navy and/or military, and eventually volunteer with helping
Crespo has had a rocky relationship after coming out to her mother in eighth-grade. She currently does not live with her mother, but hopes to better the relationship.
Crespo said that even in elementary she would be bullied. Growing up, boys would make fun of her because she was a tom boy. Even though she changed schools, she would still get the same treatment from her fellow classmates.
“Sports help me push myself mentally and physically,” Crespo said.
Crespo said since coming out she learned to not depend on others. “We need to learn to be able to push ourselves in order to reach our full potential,” Crespo said.
Through all the countless struggles Crespo has faced, she still pushes herself to be better. After a great start to her track and field career, she is poised for a better season next year.