The Aftershock Distance Club has had a busy summer so far, racing most weekends and preparing for races, but that did not stop the club from venturing to Mesa Community College and braving the heat (it was 107 degrees on June 1) for the USATF Arizona State Championships.
"Overall, I thought it was a pretty good meet for us," said Aftershock head coach Micah Swenson. "There were some things that we should have been able to do a little bit better, but the heat was certainly a factor, it didn't just hurt us, it hurt everybody."
At the end of the meet, Aftershock placed 19 athletes in the top-10 and brought home five gold medals. Allyson Arellano and Chris D'Angelo (who ran unattached but trains with Aftershock) each went to the top of the podium twice and Mingus Union freshman Penny Fenn made it once.
"Overall, it was a pretty solid performance for us," Swenson said. "We had a few girls that did PR in races, in spite of the heat and others that just preformed really well, but the heat was certainly a factor for us. To come from here in Cottonwood down to Phoenix, it was just baking by 8 a.m. They had to wet down before races to keep that core temperature down, but it was a good performance for us, I thought."
Allyson ran in two races, the 1,500 and 3,000-meter races, and still took top honors despite running slower times than she usually does. The eighth grader finished the 1,500 in 4:59.88 and the 3,000 (which she will be running this weekend at the Great Southwest Classic) in 10:50.64.
"I wish I could have gone faster. On my 3,000 I was a little slow, but it's ok," Allyson said.
Penny, running in the girls 15-16 division, only claimed one gold, but ran in three races and placed in the top-5 in the other two. She finished first in the 3,000 with a time of 11:24.15 and claimed second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 800.
"I just wish my race plan had worked better [in the 1,500] and my time was faster," Penny said.
Going into the 1,500, Penny and Swenson had developed a game plan for going against the girl that won the race; unfortunately it did not go as planned .
"There was a girl form another club that's really tough and has a great finishing kick, so we were trying to separate from early enough and keep the gap big enough so she couldn't use the kick late."
Chris D'Angelo, took top honors in both the 1,500 and 3,000 and third in the 800. Chris was one of the few Aftershock runners to beat the heat and shave time off their races. His seedtime for the 1,500 was 4:57 and he ran a 4:34.20, and in the 3,000 he previously ran a 10:30, but at the state meet bested that time by almost 30 seconds when he finished the race in 10:04.83.
Jalen Ebert, Sydney Alexander and Soledad Garcia all improved on their times at the meet, despite the temperatures. Jalen improved her 800 time about 4.5 seconds, Sydney crushed her previous 1,500 time, going from 6:04.32 down to 5:48.01, and Soledad, who runs the 200-meter hurdles, beat out her seed time by almost a quarter of a second.
Now that the USATF state meet is complete, Allyson and teammate Megan Goettl will finish their preparations for the Great Southwest Classic. Following that, Aftershock kicks into high gear, making the push towards Junior Olympic Nationals at the end of July, with two more meets being at Mesa Community College.
"We have a pretty good process [for being cool for a race], it's just whether or not they follow it, that's the big thing," Swenson said. "For a few of our girls, they did not follow the process properly, and we pointed that out ... some of the girls that did do what they were supposed to do, as opposed to those that let some stuff slide, and it really showed in the performance, especially on a hot day like that. If we don't lower that core temperature down by wetting down and cooling off, by the middle of the races it becomes very evident. We're not used to that Phoenix heat, so we've got to do little things like that to make sure we're not becoming victims of the heat on the track."