MESA - This past weekend the Aftershock Distance club attended the United States of America Track and Field Junior Olympics, held at Mesa Community College, and for the fourth time this season Allyson Arellano snapped the 3000 meter record for her age group.
In a five person race, Arellano stayed steady through the first 2600 meters, running in tandem with Sarah Carter, of Xavier College Prepatory.
The two have been battling since 8th grade and Sarah was the victor of the AIA Division I High School Cross Country meet in the fall.
"They ran in tandem for 2600 meters," said Aftershock Head Coach Micah Swenson. "I thought Allyson was being extremely patient in her racing. She looked composed and her running looked fluid. For the first 2000 meters, it looked like Sarah was working just a little harder than Allyson to stay at that pace. The pace then slowed a little. You could see both athletes were gearing up for the finish."
Swenson went on to say that his biggest message for Allyson was that when it came time to make a move, "make it decisive," Swenson said. With 400 meters to go in the race, Allyson made her final push and put a six to seven meter gap on the Division I Cross Country champ. With 150 meters the Aftershock star made one more push to put the race away, which led to her breaking the 3000 meter record for the fourth time this season with a final clocking of 10:22.54.
As the Aftershock team closed out their season with this meet, Swenson praised his star runner who is heading into her senior year and is narrowing her list of colleges she may attend.
"Allyson is truly a transcendent athlete," Swenson said. "She's the best I've ever coached. She gets it on every level. She has a tremendous knowledge of the sport, unmatched level of dedication, fierce competitive drive, and a willingness to accept coaching. The college she selects is in for a treat. Their program will certainly improve with the addition of Allyson."
Arellano also competed in the 1500 meter and 800 meter races over the weekend as well. The 1500 meter race set up another duel with Carter as well as Prescott's Makennah Mills.
Early on in the race Allyson pushed the tempo and put a gap between herself and the powerful Xavier Prep runner. She built about a 3.5 second gap with 450 meters to go Swenson said but Carter still had a lot left in the tank as it came down to the final 100 meters.
"Allyson said she knew Sarah was closing because the cheers for Sarah were coming sooner than before and at one point and she could hear her footsteps," Swenson said.
She held off Carter, but not by much as she clocked a 4:45.73 finishing time while Carter came in at 4:46.39 for a close finish. The two weren't just battling each other, but the heat as well as Swenson said the temperature hit triple digits as the two stepped off the track.
After placing first in her two first events, Allyson had just one race left.
"I actually had considered pulling her from the event [800 meter] but she's a true competitor, there was no way she was going to let me," Swenson said.
She took to the track and clocked a 2:25, good enough for a second place finish against La Meyah Charlton who finished with a 2:21.24 clocking.
Another solid performance for the Aftershock club came from Josh Reilly, who finished 5th in the 1500 meter race and took 2nd in the 3000 meter race.
His 10:10.06 in the 3000 meter race allowed him to join Allyson as a Junior Olympics Regional Qualifier.
After a slow start in the 1500 meter race Swenson said, his final 700 meters was the best he had ever seen him run.
"The opening 800m of that 1500 was terribly conservative for him," Swenson said. "Like Allyson, he was able to take some mid-race coaching and change things up. His final 700m were outstanding, pushing him up from 10th to 5th."
The Aftershock club will shut it down for the next two weeks before picking training back up for the Cross Country season. Their first race will take place on September 5.
--Follow Sports Reporter Greg Macafee on Twitter @greg_macafee or contact him at 928-300-1376, firstname.lastname@example.org
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