A student-athlete is defined as a person who fulfills the responsibility of both student and a athlete. In other words, they must be enrolled in and attend courses offered by the school they attend while also participating in a competitive sport.

Incoming Gustine High senior MJ Haro, the daughter of Sofia and Gabriel Haro, has the great mindset and drive of being a well balanced student-athlete.

During her time at GHS Haro has focused on basketball and running track for her sporting career. She has been playing each sport since the sixth grade, which has allowed her to perfect her craft for quite some time now. 

“What got me interested in basketball was in sixth grade when I attended Moreland Notre Dame Catholic school they did not have enough girls for a complete team so I joined for fun. Later I fell in love with the sport,” said Haro. “The reason I got interested in track was because I needed something to keep me busy and in shape for basketball.” 

Her inspiration for picking up a basketball Haro shared comes from her parents, uncle/trainer Curtis Harrison, little brother and cousin.

Her parents come to mind because she would love to repay them for all the sacrifices they have made throughout life for her. As for her uncle, she looks up to him because he went to a Division 1 collegiate school and she would like to be able to do the same and show the community of Gustine that even in a small town you can make it. Lastly, for her little cousin and brother they inspire her drive because both of them greatly look up to her and she doesn’t want to let them down and show them they can go great things as well when you put your mind to it.  

While being highly involved with sports, Haro’s main focus is in her studies beyond the court where she believes education is where it all starts. 

“The way I balance school work and being an athlete throughout my seasons is trying my hardest to get homework done during school hours, leaving me plenty of time for my sport,” shared Haro. “If I am not able to get work done during school I get things finished in a timely manner after my games or practices.”

Haro also mentioned when being a student first, time management is a huge thing to remember to be able to stay on top of your work.

As for her off-season training this is the time when Haro puts in the work to be able to perform at her highest level during the school year seasons.  

“During the off-season I try to work out everyday on my own and get in two workouts a day — one session of weights and another session of cardio or putting up shots. On the weekends I head to my uncle/trainers house for long workouts. He has me do a variety of different things from weights, dribbling drills, shooting drills etc.,” noted Haro.

Last summer she was on an AAU team in Los Banos so she practiced daily and had tournaments on the weekends. Coming this summer she plans to find another AAU team and go multiple times a week to train with her uncle. 

With this upcoming 2022-2023 school year and sports season coming up Haro has many goals for herself and her Lady Reds team.

“My personal goals for basketball is I want to host another home playoff game and advance further, as well as I want to work my way and get all league and play in the county All Star game,” Haro told Westside Connect. “For track my goal is to make it to masters my senior year. Something else I want to really aim for is help spread equality throughout women and men’s sports.”

With this upcoming year being her senior year Haro has mapped out her path for her next steps in her life. She would like to attend a junior college and then later transfer to one of her dream four-year colleges being either Fresno, Texas A&M, San Diego State, San Jose, North Carolina, Norte Dame, or the University of Miami. While also attending one of these schools she would like to study Criminal Justice.

As she reminisces back on her younger day she would like to leave some words of wisdom for a young athlete. 

“Do not give up, no matter what it is, no matter what sport. Work the hardest you can at school and sports, while also working harder than the person next to you. If you think you are going hard enough, work harder. There is someone out there going for the same thing as you. If you fall, get right back up and come back stronger. Remember it’s okay to make mistakes, but learn from them. Do not look at losses as an end, look at a loss as a beginning — loss is the greatest teacher. It shows you things you didn’t know you were lacking in and gives you a chance to work and perform better.”