Aftershock runners earn All-American honors

Allyson Arellano and Penny Fenn

Allyson Arellano and Penny Fenn

The runners of Aftershock Distance Club competed in their final meet of the 2014 Cross Country season on Saturday.

They were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the USA Track & Field Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.

More than 3,400 athletes were in competition, the largest field in the 33-year history of the event.

For the first time in the club's existence, Aftershock athletes were able to race to the podium and earn All-American status. The duo of Allyson Arellano and Penny Fenn both cracked the Top 25 at the national championship with Allyson finishing 16th and Penny at 23rd.

The duo has been on a recent hot streak finishing 1-2 at the USA Track & Field state and regional meets. Both were also able to make the podium at the Foot Locker West regional back on Dec. 6.

Like all major Cross Country championships, the race broke out very fast. Both Allyson and Penny handled the fast and congested start, settling into the Top 30 from the onset. This set the stage, giving both runners the opportunity to better their previous best at nationals. Both runners had finished in the Top 40 but were unable to crack the Top 25 until Saturday.

Allyson and Penny were able to break the 19-minute mark, a new achievement for Penny. Allyson finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 18:32.9, outkicking a pair of runners to move from 18th to 16th in the final 50 meters.

Penny's finishing time of 18:53.0 was a new personal best by 12 seconds.

In addition to these honors, Penny was granted the privilege of being the Arizona state flag bearer at the event's opening ceremony.

While both girls were able to make sizable improvements on past performances, the largest improvement came from Karen Arellano, Allyson's sister. Karen's 47th place finish was a 76-place improvement from her previous best at nationals when she came in 123rd.

The trio and their teammates will take some time off for the Christmas holiday before gearing up for the 2015 Indoor Track season where a majority of their meets will be with collegiate competition.

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