With the success of the track and field team, many athletes are having outstanding seasons. One shining star on the women’s side is junior distance runner Andrea Arceo, who broke the La Verne steeplechase record three times this season with her best time being 11:08.48.
Arceo participates in the 400 meter hurdles, the four by 400 meter relay and most notably the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
“Andrea is not only an extremely talented runner she is a great teammate and friend as well,” teammate Micaela Castillo said.
Arceo broke the steeplechase record April 7 at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Quad Meet III.
Arceo is currently ranked No. 13 in the nation for the steeplechase, a small slip from her previous national ranking, No. 9.
“I only started doing the steeplechase around last year,” Arceo said.
Arceo has made much improvement from her best time in the steeplechase from last year.
Her best time last year was 12:42.5, she shed 1:34.02 off that this season.
Arceo began running track in the sixth grade and continued to run at Segrestrom High School in Santa Ana where she also participated in cross country.
Arceo began track with running the mile, two mile, the 800 meter and the 4×400 meter relay.
“I never thought I could be an overall athlete,” Arceo said.
Arceo became the overall athlete the Leopards were looking for and she loves being a Leopard.
“We pretty much all get along,” Arceo said. “They’re all really cool. I like it here, I wouldn’t change anything.”
Arceo is a child development major and looks to get into speech pathology after graduation.
“I would work with people who suffered strokes and have trouble speaking after, but I will probably end up working with kids more,” Arceo said.
Arceo also gets a lot of help from her coaching staff, which is led by head cross country coach Mike Atwood.
“They’re really supportive and that’s pretty chill,” Arceo said.
The Leopards’ coaching staff has high expectations for Arceo heading into the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference Championships.
“I want to get in the top three in conference,” Arceo said. “But my coaches think I can get first.”
“I want her to understand what it feels like to compete post-conference,” Atwood said. “She has a legit shot at competing in the NCAA championships, and my goal for her is to make the finals there.”
Arceo did not participate in cross country her first two years at the University of La Verne, but came back to it this past season.
“Coming back to it was tough at first because you’re just running miles and miles,” Arceo said. “But I improved. I wasn’t last.”
“We’ve worked on her endurance over the past nine months, as that was her biggest weakness coming into the fall semester,” Atwood said. “Thankfully, she was already a strong hurdler, so we haven’t had to adjust her technique.”
Arceo is going to return to cross country next year and looks to compete at a higher level next year.
“Looking at the data I am a head of others girls’ times,” Arceo said.
“She (Arceo) consistently trains hard on and off the track, always challenging herself and her teammates,” Castillo said.
But right now Arceo is focused on track and finishing strong heading towards the end of the season.
“In numbers, I’m ranked second right now,” Arceo said. “Emily Canales is ahead of me, from Redlands.”
Canales and Arceo have raced against one another once this season at Occidental College.
Arceo was leading most of the race, but Canales was able to take the lead and finish first.
“I was trying to use her most of the race, but she was using me,” Arceo said.
Arceo will be competing in the SCIAC Championships today at 3 p.m. at Redlands and will look to add to her already impressive resumé and possibly break her own school record.
The very humble Arceo will also have next year to showcase her talent in her senior year.
As for now she will continue to do what she does best.
“She is the teammate that always has a smile on her face and is constantly laughing and joking around with us,” Castillo said.
Christian Orozco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.