High School Runner of the Month: Adilene Aldapa

Adilene Aldapa - San Marcos Cross Country

Adilene Aldapa

Adilene Aldapa?s rise as a runner has provided a big boost to the San Marcos cross country program and to her self esteem.

The junior has been a consistent top-five finisher in races this season. She?ll cap her season on Saturday at the CIF State Championships at Fresno?s Woodward Park.

?It?s been phenomenal to watch,? Royals assistant coach Tracy Jenkins said of Aldapa’s improvement as a distance runner. ?A year ago, her fastest time was like 22 minutes. So, to have her come out this year and immediately drop down ? 19 minutes was one of her first races ? and be competing as close as she can to (Dos Pueblos standout) Addi (Zerrenner) all season, is fantastic.?

Aldapa has placed behind Zerrenner in nearly every meet they?ve competed ? two Channel League meets and the Santa Barbara County Championships. Her best 3-mile time is 18:00, which she did at the league finals at Camino Real Park in Ventura.

She won the Lagoon Race in 18:49, which is the fastest time by a San Marcos girl on the course at UCSB.

SB Running CompanyThe High School Runner of the Month award recognizes local prep runners that exemplify the term ?Student-Athlete? by demonstrating leadership and excellence in high school athletics. ?Thanks to?Santa Barbara Running Company??for making this award possible and for supporting local athletes.

Find other Runners of the Month?HERE

Aldapa said she never thought she?d be running in high school when she started at San Marcos two years ago.

She got into it through a friend.

?She said she was doing cross country and asked me if I would do it with her,? Aldapa recalled. ?I told her, ?I?m not sure I?d be good at it.??

She ran a 25-minute 5k during the team trials.

?She came out totally new to running,? Jenkins said.

Aldapa improved throughout the season and became the varsity team?s No. 7 runner as a sophomore.

The improvement continued during track season last spring, and by the fall she worked her way to the No. 1 spot for the San Marcos girls cross country team.

?I like the coaching and putting in the time,? Aldapa said. ?Sometimes I surprise myself ? ?How did I do that?? I still kind of see myself as the runner who was doing the 25-minute times. I?m still not used to it.?

Said Jenkins: ?She ran (CIF) prelims last year and was our seventh runner. And this year she jumped to the front of the pack. There?s so much talent that?s yet to be uncovered there. It?s going to be fun to watch her.?

Aldapa said she wasn?t feeling well at CIF Finals and ran 17 seconds slower than her prelims time. But her 13th-place finish in the Division 3 race was good enough to qualify for the State Meet as an individual.

?I found out right after the race and I was feeling really, really terrible ,? she said. ?I didn?t really appreciate it because I was focused on how terrible I was feeling. After, when that passed, I was able to grasp it and go, ?Oh my gosh, this is so exciting.? ?

Aldapa loves being part of a team. She said the support she receives from her teammates has done wonders for her self-confidence.

?It?s fun to have that team feel, where everyone supports you and everyone wants you to do well,? she said. ?If you don?t do well, there?s always people to cheer you up and it?s nice having that. I have always been a shy kid. This has kind of helped me reach out to people. Growing up, I didn?t feel like anyone cared. It?s that sense of belonging we all look for; we all want to be in a place where we want to be, a place where we?re important to people and feel like people accept us.

“I definitely feel that here.?