In the Spotlight – Alexandra (Alex) Gongas

Around the time Alex was second grade, she developed a strong desire to be on a sports team. She didn’t seem to care which sport she competed in; her goal was to be on a team. The only option for her at that time was cross country. So Alex joined the cross country team for St. Gregory school in Zelienople, PA.

Her parents told Alex that once she joined the team, she had to finish the season. 

Alex showed up at the first practice dressed in her pink running skirt. Her initial run of the 1.8-mile course took Alex roughly 30 minutes to complete.  As the season progressed, she discovered a love for running. Furthermore, Alex showed she had natural talent for running beyond her overall interest in the sport.

The coach of the cross-country team told Alex about a youth triathlon team that trained at the local YMCA.  During the off-season of cross country, this training provides an opportunity for youths to continue to develop their athletic skills.  So, with very little knowledge or skills about triathlons, Alex eagerly began her quest to compete in a triathlon. With great interest she started training with the youth triathlon team.

Although Alex had taken swimming lessons, her skills in the water needed further development, and the YMCA had an excellent facility for her to use.

However, this was not her major concern. You see, Alex owned a bike, but she did not know how to ride one. Although Alex lacked critical bike handling skills, the spinning bikes at the YMCA provided her the opportunity to develop her muscles and improve her endurance.

She trained throughout the winter and spring and signed up for her first triathlon in May. 

That meant she needed to learn to ride a bike. With just two weeks before her very first triathlon, Alex’s dad started teaching her how to ride a bike. One week after learning to ride, Alex got her first road bike, a FUJI. (Currently, she rides on an Argon 18 Nitrogen Pro.)

Then just several days later, Alex competed in her first triathlon. She went on to compete at Nationals that year with a goal of not placing last. Needless to say, with her dedication and determination, Alex easily achieved her goal.

Alex is passionate about triathlons, competing, and cheering on teammates.

To date, Alex has competed in the Youth National Triathlons five years in a row.  She achieved a 9th place finish in 2018 in her national age group category.  Most recently in August 2019,  Alex finished in 4th place at USAT Youth Age Group National Championships.

In 2019, Alex started racing in the Youth Elite draft legal races. (Draft legal races are those where you can follow closely behind another bike and draft off of their slipstream.) Alex really enjoys the faster pace of draft legal racing and has been honored to represent her team in a mixed team relay at the Elite level.

Her love of triathlons has taken her all over the country to race and have fun within the triathlon community.

Alex’s ultimate goal is to race at the Olympics. 

Some other interesting facts about Alex:

  • Alex was the youth series champion in 2017 for the HFP series.
  • Alex’s coach is Joella Baker.
  • In 2018, Alex was the Mini Sprint Triathlon series champion, again for the HFP organization.
  • Currently, she attends St. Kilian school in Cranberry, PA.
  • Alex is a member of the Get Fit Families triathlon team.

We learned about Alex when she won the overall female category for a local indoor triathlon.  As a result of that encounter, we thought her story might spark other youths to pursue their individual passion with the same enthusiasm and zest.

We are confident Alexandra will achieve what she undertakes, and we will hopefully one day see her represent our country in the Olympics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *