Arellano readies prep running career with two state junior high gold medals
     2014-05-29      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - Xavier Arellano (center), who just completed his eighth-grade year at Gering Junior High, smiles after he receives the gold medal for winning the 800-meter run during the Nebraska state junior high school track and field meet on May 17 in Gothenburg. Arrelano also won the 1,600-meter run. 
Xavier Arellano may have just completed his eighth-grade year at Gering Junior High, but he will already carry some strong credentials when he enters the Gering High School cross country and track and field programs next school year.

Arellano completed a three gold-medal year on May 17, when he won the gold medals in the boys’ 800- and 1,600-meter runs in the Nebraska state junior high school track and field meet at Gothenburg.

Arellano’s time in the 1,600 run in 4:57.55 and the 800 meters in 2:11.22. He won both races after finishing fourth in each competition last year as a seventh-grader; the events are open-class, open-grade.

Arellano entered the 1,600 with the third-best time among middle and junior high boys in the state but said he led the entire race and won by about one second.

“I just wanted to run my own race and see how it turned out,” Arellano said. “It was a nice day; it wasn’t too hot or too cold.”

Arellano entered the 800 competition with the best time in the state and dominated the two laps, finishing a staggering 22 seconds ahead of the runner-up, who is from Sidney.

One might think with his large victory and state-best ranking in the 800 that Arellano might favor the middle-distance event. Such is not the case, however.

“I like longer distances, like the mile (1,600) and cross country (3,000 meters),” he said.

In the fall, Arellano won the boys’ state junior high cross country title at LaVista. He ran the race with a meet record time of 10:12, breaking the previous standard by 43 seconds.

Arellano will participate in Junior Olympic district and regional events this summer in his quest to make national competition, with Gering cross country season beginning in August.

“I think I will do pretty well because I will have all the older kids pushing me,” said Arellano, who practices with the Gering cross country and distance track runners and under Bulldog cross country coach Rick Marez.

Until he begins summer workouts next week – which will include one-hour runs in the mornings and track workouts in the afternoon – Arellano said he will enjoy his state victories but not bask in them.

“All the people who congratulate you afterward,” Arellano said was the icing on the cake. “It’s pretty unbelievable and exciting.”

However, Arellano said the hard work he exerts to succeed ultimately is his reward.

“I guess I am just one who is willing to put in the work to get better,” he said. “As long as you are willing to put in the work, I see the kids at my school and other respect me, and they think I am very humble.”

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