Athlete, Cross Country, 1995-1997
Like the Energizer bunny, Alex Rodriguez just kept going and going. As a standout cross country runner for the Chiefs in the mid 1990s, Rodriguez was perpetual motion. He used that energy to reach some lofty personal goals, and these days he motivates others to do the same.
Rodriguez competed in cross country and track at Aurora East High School before signing on to run for the Chiefs. As a freshman he was Waubonsee’s number four runner most of the 1995 season, but came on strong at the end. Rodriguez earned All-Skyway honors by taking third at the conference meet to help the Chiefs win the title. The following year he kicked it into another gear. Rodriguez was the Skyway Conference champion and the league’s Runner of the Year, as Waubonsee repeated as Skyway champs. He also was the Region IV champion as the entire squad qualified for the National Meet.
At Nationals Rodriguez just missed out on making All-American as he placed 19th overall, the best finish ever by a Chiefs male runner, to help lead Waubonsee to 10th place nationally. “He was very motivated and intense, and worked hard to become a championship caliber runner. Alex improved more than any male athlete I ever coached at Waubonsee,” states former long-time head coach John Bell.
Even when Rodriguez stopped moving, he still made progress. He earned Skyway All-Academic honors and was selected to the NJCAA All-Academic team with a 3.63 grade-point average. Not surprisingly, Rodriguez was named Waubonsee’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 1996-97 school year. Rodriguez earned an associate degree in automotive technology from Waubonsee before transferring to Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale to compete for the Salukis. He completed his bachelor’s degree in applied science and automotive technology from SIU in 1998, and then later earned a master’s degree in workforce education from SIU.
Rodriguez worked at the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, while also coaching the Titans’ runners for four years. He has been an automotive instructor, along with teaching metals and welding at Oswego High School the last 13 years. Rodriguez has served as a Panther’s cross country and track coach for seven years, leading the girl’s cross country program for three seasons. “It wasn’t my first choice as a career,” states Rodriguez. “But I’ve come to love teaching and coaching.” Rodriguez and his wife Megan live in Joliet with their 1-year old Adrian.