Runners dominate the Guzman family

Sibling cross country runners Ronaldo and Emhely Guzman say they are inspired by their mother to be high achievers. (Laura Coleman Photo)

Sibling cross country runners Ronaldo and Emhely Guzman say they are inspired by their mother to be high achievers. (Laura Coleman Photo)

By Paul Livengood

Emhley and Ronaldo Guzman both run cross country for the Liberty Hill Panthers. Not only do they compete on the cross country course for the high school, but running is their passion in general.

Where does their desire for running derive from? Mom.

Blanca Guzman, Emhley and Ronaldo’s mother, got her kids out of the house and running from an early age.

“Oh we run at home, for sure,” Emhley said. “Our mother makes sure we run outside of school. We live on a road that stretches on for two miles, and she drives us all the way to that two-mile mark, she drops us off, and she makes us run all the way back home.”

The entire Guzman family has athletic roots. Mom was a cross country runner and volleyball player in Mexico growing up. Dad was a basketball player. Emhley and Ronaldo’s uncles all excelled in sports. The two were destined to be athletically gifted.

According to Emhley and Ronaldo, their two younger siblings, Kimberly and Kelly, will also one day be thrown onto the cross country course by their mother, even if the youngsters don’t know it yet.

Cross country is so tough to compete in mentally, a war of attrition if you will. So, the Guzman siblings find inspiration in the stories told by their mother about her athletic achievements in cross country and struggles she faced while running in Mexico.

“She inspires us all the time,” Emhley said. “She’ll be like, ‘When I was younger, it was hot in Mexico and we still ran no matter what,’ because sometimes we complain and in Mexico it gets hotter (than here). And so she tries to motivate us in that way.”

While the two get their passion from Blanca, how each sibling began their cross country careers differs a little.

Both Emhley and Ronaldo started running cross country in seventh grade; they have that in common. Running on an organized cross country team for Emhley started when Shannon Warren, a friend, asked her to join the team so Warren didn’t feel alone. From there, the rest was history. Today, Emhley Guzman is a senior and has made the state meet in cross country in years past.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, is a sophomore, and looks up to Emhley as a mentor both on and off the course. He began running cross country to follow in his sister’s footsteps and emulate her.

“I just wanted to beat my sister at running,” Ronaldo joked.

Meanwhile, the sophomore strives to reach heights his sister has already captured.

Emhley’s younger brother has yet to qualify for the state meet in his first two years of high school. That won’t stop her from cheering for him every step of the way though.

“They encourage each other in practice and in the meets,” Cross Country Coach Kim Holt said of Emhley and Ronaldo. “It is nice to see them cheering for each other in the meets.”

In fact, two meets ago in Lampasas, Ronaldo was running his race and Emhley shouted at him from the sidelines that if he didn’t finish in the top 10, she wouldn’t give him $50. Ronaldo finished in sixth place that week. To this day, he still hasn’t seen that $50.

Anyone can see the relationship between this brother and sister is tight on and off the track. Ronaldo and Emhley even work together at the same job.

The Guzman siblings work at Kumon Math and Reading Center, where they serve as math tutors for young kids and help grade the packets done by the students.

Emhley described her relationship with her brother as “extremely close” and that she wouldn’t know what she would do without him, despite the fact that they may bicker and pick on one another like brothers and sisters naturally do.

Whether that be Ronaldo cutting off the lights in the bathroom while Emhley showers because he knows she’s scared to shower in the dark, or Emhley tricking him into answering the door when there is no one there, the two agreed that their bond can be described using one word.

“Love,” Emhley said. “This brotherly, sibling love we have for each other.”