Photo contributed by Alejandra and Bianca Frausto
For this edition of the Runner Spotlight, we look at CSU Bakersfield seniors Alejandra “AJ” Frausto and Bianca Frausto, identical twin sisters on the track and cross-country teams who are eager to continue running next year when they return for graduate school.
Growing up in Bakersfield, CA, AJ and Bianca attended North High School where they began pursuing their long-distance running careers. While taking physical education in summer school before her sophomore year, Bianca was approached by a security guard as she was running a timed mile because of how well she was running. After the security guard encouraged her to try out for cross country, the desire to run was ingrained.
“I ended up going to the classroom of the teacher who coached cross country and I told him I wanted to join. And then that following fall, I started my first season of cross country,” Bianca said.
AJ started running the following semester when the track season came around, after Bianca encouraged her to try out with her. Since then, they have been running, and while they compete with each other, they see the competition as an opportunity to perform better.
“It’s kind of like the best thing I can do for her for something that she loves is give it 100 percent when I’m competing against her, because at the end of the day it’s gonna push her and it’s gonna push me and we can grow together,” Bianca said.
Through training together, both AJ and Bianca have become each other’s number one fans, and their relationship on and off the track has become stronger. AJ said that while the two are training together, they are able to balance each other out, and have reached the point where they are able to give meaningful critiques and coach one another. Her sister feels similarly.
“Running isn’t linear. You have an amazing workout some days and some you don’t. When I have a bad workout, she’s like, ‘You know what? That’s one bad day out of so many good days…’ We definitely figured out how to maneuver the sport together,” Bianca said.
Although the two were growing closer, there were some moments that tested the sisters’ growing bond.
“I think it’s taken a long time to get to a place like where we can say things to each other…You don’t wanna hear it sometimes. You don’t wanna be held accountable sometimes, and I think that’s definitely something like we’ve kinda learned how to master better with each other,” Bianca said.
Now, when the sisters do become mad with each other, it is because they are training partners. AJ said that this recently happened a couple of weeks prior when they were running 14 miles and argued for the first half, but it was resolved with a simple apology, and they talked the remaining miles.
AJ and Bianca have shared many memories through their running careers, but each has a different memory that they hold dear to them. For AJ, she shared the memory with Bianca at her very first track meet in her sophomore year at North High.
“I remember we were at the line and my hands were getting really sweaty because it was my first race, and we were just holding hands together…I was just so nervous I wasn’t going to be able to perform to the standards I was supposed to,” AJ said.
Bianca’s favorite memory is one that she did not participate in, but was on the sidelines of AJ’s meet where she ran her career fastest in the 5000 meters at the University of California, Los Angeles for the Bob Larsen Distance Carnival their sophomore year at CSUB.
“It was something that she had put her mind to for a long time, and at the end of the day, I was like if she can do it, oh man I can do it,” Bianca said.
Running is not the only thing AJ and Bianca do together; they both major in psychology, and after they graduate this semester, they will be back next year for graduate school to earn their therapy certifications.
The sisters do have different career paths, as AJ plans on going into marriage and family therapy and Bianca plans on going into sports therapy. How they chose to do psychology is similar to how they discovered cross-country and track.
“Again, she influenced me. But she would come home and tell me about it…I was really interested and then as we got into the field, I think we both, I would say we have similar tastes, so we both just fell in love with it,” AJ said.
With the year ending and not having much of an outdoor track season because of the spring cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic, AJ and Bianca have still been able to continue training due to track and cross-country being no-contact sports. The two plan to continue to train in anticipation of next year.