Cleveland State’s Derek Gallardo is off to a four-year college to continue his collegiate cross country career after signing with the Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs on Monday.
The 2020 Region VII MVP had an illustrious career for the Cougars, capping off his sophomore season with a win at the Region VII Championships in Oct. and placing 47th overall at Nationals in Nov. Gallardo also holds the program record for the 8k, running a time of 26:12 at the National Championship.
Gallardo will not take for granted his time in Cleveland.
“It means a lot to me that I get to still compete at the next level and continue with my degree,” he said. “It is my goal to try my best to help Tennessee Wesleyan win a conference title. Cleveland State was a great opportunity for me. I learned a lot through my ups and downs. I always had my teammates to motivate me to get better. I’ll never forget Cleveland State because they gave me a chance when no one else would. Thank you to my teachers and coaches I had. I learned a lot from every single one of them. Go Cougars!”
Both of Gallardo’s coaches from this past season see nothing but success ahead for the runner.
“Derek meant a lot to the cross country program,” said Head Coach Brandon Raleigh. “A great teammate and phenomenal runner, Derek ran as one of of top guys and finished off last cross country season with a program record 8k time at XC Nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We wish him the best at TWU. I am confident he will find a lot of success there.”
“I am so proud of Derek and know he will do amazing things at TWU,” said 2019 Interim Head Coach Lindsey Beck, “He is a hard and humble worker who continues to get better each and every day. He’s got big things ahead and I can’t wait to see his success with the Bulldogs!”
Tennessee Wesleyan is an NAIA-member school located in Athens, Tenn.