Reyes places 12th at NationalsAleona Reyes joined a short list of runners at Jamestown College after placing 12th at the NAIA national meet in Vancouver, Wash.
Aleona Reyes joined a short list of runners at Jamestown College after placing 12th at the NAIA national meet in Vancouver, Wash.
The sophomore out of Belen, N.M. ran her best race of the season to earn All-American honors — just the fourth runner in school history to accomplish the feat. Former teammate Katie Conlon was an All-American three times and both Andrea Ellanson and Billie Dixon each earned All-American once.
“It still hasn’t really set in,” said Reyes. “During the race, when I realized I was going to reach my goal, that was probably the happiest time for me.”
This was the Jimmie standout second straight year running in the national meet, but it was the first time she crossed the finish line after a serious bladder condition kept her from finishing the race.
“It was kind of hard running because I did think about what happened last year,” she said. “I just had to remind myself that I can’t do any worse than I did last year, because my goal this year was to at least place and hopefully get All-American.”
Reyes accomplished both goals and now she has a chance to match Conlon, an 11-time All-American, in cross country All-American honors.
“I am very proud of Aleona and she really deserves the success that has come her way this season,” said JC coach Jim Clark. “You certainly have to run well on the day of the meet to do something special like this, but what is far more important is what you do to prepare.
“I think it is harder at a meet like this to be the only individual from your school, without teammates to converse with for a few days. She did a wonderful job of following her normal schedule.”
Reyes worked her way up to 14th place at the midway point before kicking it into high gear down the final stretch.
“I told myself, ‘I’m not going to finish like this. I want to finish better,’” said Reyes. “I really kicked it in and I passed the girl, and I was pretty happy I could do that.”
Reyes crossed the line in a time of 18:01, 12 seconds faster than Conlon’s eighth-place time last year and 20 seconds better than Conlon’s 10th-place time in 2009.
“I thought Aleona ran the perfect race,” Clark said. “She was in the top 30 at the 1K mark, but right in the pack of runners.”
Reyes is now looking on to the indoor track and field season where she is hoping to add another All-American award to her young collegiate career.
“Now that I got All-American, my goals are definitely higher for track season,” Reyes said. “I would like to qualify in as much as I can for nationals — right now that’s my No. 1 goal.”