By Lillian Birdt
On a typical meet day, Gina Kurowski stands in the sidelines, timer in hand, shouting words of encouragement. However, Kurowski is no bystander; she is the head coach of Granada Hills Charter High School’s (GHC) Cross Country and Track and Field program. Kurowski is a woman with many talents, as she is able to balance being an extremely dedicated coach, loving parent, and talented actress.
After high school she received a Track and Cross Country scholarship to UCLA. She majored in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics and researched for a year, and ended up finishing her masters in (waiting for response).. Kurowski made the decision to run professionally after graduating in 2002.
She qualified as an All-America National Collegiate Athletic Association twice, in which she finished in the top eight in the nation. She also qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon twice. She retired from running competitively in 2012 after 10 years of dedication to the sport.
“Growing up I hated running and I was a ballet dancer. When I stopped, I tried running and ended up being good. It really helped me gain self-esteem and I became less worried about what others thought of me. I was usually the smallest and most underestimated, but always proved myself,” Kurowski said.
Kurowski has three children, all of whom are teenagers. She has two biological sons and a foster daughter. She had her first son, Kole, in 2002. Kurowski met her foster daughter, Eden, last year when she joined the team. Because of her coaching, she gets to know several kids on campus and got close to Eden. When she started coming to Kurowski every day and talking to her about things going on in her life, one day she and her husband decided to take in Eden as a foster child.
“I do my best to remain approachable, but it can be hard to maintain that coach-athlete relationship because I want to be friends with the kids. I love them all and I find myself getting attached to them.” Kurowski said.
Kurowski finds these connections essential to being a coach. She decided to volunteer her time to the GHC track and field program when her first son entered high school, and she fell in love with coaching. While volunteering, she got to know the administration as well as the coaches and was offered the job of head coach starting in 2018.
“I fell in love with coaching and I never thought I would. It’s a lot, but it’s fun and the kids are fun. I truly inherited a great program and love to continue to watch the program grow. As busy as this keeps me, I can definitely see why coaching is a lifestyle. Coaching is a very small part of my life but it takes up a lot of time.” Kurowski said.
On top of coaching, Kurowski is also a voice-over actress and has been featured in dozens of commercials, television shows, movies, and video games. Some of her works include Street Fighter V, Alpha and Omega 4: The Legend of the Saw Toothed Cave, and Monte Carlo. On her way to medical school after her first son was born, she took a voice-over class and fell in love with it. Once she started getting jobs, she obtained an agent and ended up with a full-time career.
With coaching such a large team comes difficulty however, finding money and fundraising is a difficult part of her coaching. Additionally learning to deal with parents and making sure to get things approved takes a lot of work and she always makes sure to learn from each mistake.
Her two careers take up a lot of her time, even though it is only a small part of her life. She is not only raising a family, but training athletes and upholding city titles. Kurowski truly loves her job and it really shows in her work ethic. She is dedicated to the well being of her players and is excited to watch the program grow over the years.