Born to Run

Senior Reflects on High School Track Career


Photo courtesy Aaron Esparza

Senior Aaron Esparza holds the district champion award. “Track really had a huge impact on my life,” Esparza said. “It was my go-to place whenever I needed it and I will never forget the amazing memories that came from winning track.”

Michelle De Lellis, Reporter

For the first time in high school history, the boys and girls track team swept district and area all in the same year. These accomplishments were a dream come true to senior Aaron Esparza, who has been running track ever since seventh grade and has a huge passion for the sport.

Esparza said that he joined the track team because it was mandatory for playing football. He started off by only running the mile, but in eighth grade when the coaches saw the potential in him, they encouraged him to run the 4×4. Going into high school, Esparza said that he continued the sport because he saw himself developing a love for track, but also keeping his love for football alive and decided to dive into soccer. When practices, games and meets became overwhelming, Esparza ultimately chose to keep track at the top of his priorities.

“Track was my priority because of the love I had for the sport,” Esparza said. “I felt like I really had a purpose and the way I felt after running was an amazing feeling, especially when it all paid off during the races. I knew I had a lot of potential in track and thinking about everything I could accomplish made we want to keep doing it.”

Sophomore year is when things started taking off for Esparza. He focused on track and improved immensely, and when he went into the JV season and soon won the 400 for Districts, Esparza quickly got moved up to varsity to compete in the 4×4, where he ended up qualifying for Regionals.

“My accomplishments are what truly made me feel excited for what track had to offer me,” Esparza said. “Accomplishing all these things while still young made me excited for the years ahead of me. I started setting high goals for myself and wanted to beat any school records.”

Junior year was Esparza’s first full year on varsity. He placed fourth in the 400 for Districts, which led him to qualify for Area. This would have been the third year the boy and girls track teams won district champions, but due to an inconvenience, they got eliminated.

Track really had a huge impact in my life. It was my go-to place whenever I needed it.

— Aaron Esparza (12)

“Getting eliminated from winning district champion my junior year made me upset because that’s a trophy and title that you can’t win back,” Esparza said. “This made me want to work harder my senior year so we could get the title.”

Esparza came into senior year with a strong mentality and was ready to work harder than ever. Starting off the season strong, Esparza, along with sophomore Kiyon King and seniors Eric Shine and Alden Yi, shattered school records in the Sprint Medley Relay, placing first and winning the race. To add to the success, the boy and girls JV and varsity teams all swept Districts, winning the entire meet. Esparza placed first in the 400 and 4×4 at Districts, along with senior Alden Yi and juniors Tanner James and Peyton Chriswisser. This gave Esparza and the boys the title of district champion for both races.

“I had never been happier in my life,” Esparza said. “I finally realized that all the hard work that I’ve been putting in for years finally paid off. I couldn’t stop smiling. I called my mom twice that night to tell her everything. It all just didn’t feel real. It made me even happier seeing my whole team feeling the same way I was.”

The four boys got to advance to Area and placed third in the 4×4, and Esparza placed third in the 400, qualifying for Regionals. At Regionals, Esparza placed sixth in the 400 for his heat, fourth in the 4×4 and qualified for finals. Esparza and the boys placed seventh in finals in the 4×4, ending Esparza’s high school track career. 

“Leaving Regionals was a really sad time for me,” Esparza said. “I cried at the end of the race and hugged Coach Blanton and Grenier and all my teammates and thanked them for an amazing season. Everything felt weird for the next few days because track will always have a part in my life and not doing it felt really weird.”

This upcoming summer, Esparza plans on joining a club track team and hopes to earn a scholarship out of it.

“Track really had a huge impact in my life,” Esparza said. “It was my go-to place whenever I needed it and I will never forget the amazing memories that came from running track. The bonds created in track are unbreakable. We’re all with each other for 10-14 hours on meet days and see each other every day. Even after this season, the bonds stayed. It’s a great feeling knowing you’ll always have a family to come back to no matter what.”