By Shanna Shernaman |Staff Writer|
Laura Aceves became the only CSUSB track and field athlete to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Championships.
Aceves competed on May 14 at the All On the Line National Qualifier and Harry Marra Multis meet at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Aceves.
“I was more focused on me,” continued Aceves.
Aceves finished first in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:57.09.
“I focused on my own pace, I knew there were only like two girls in my race,” continued Aceves.
For Aceves, competition was not a concern. She was confident and ready to compete.
“Well, physically I just maintained the same practices,” said Aceves.
“Mentally I focused on trying to PR [personal record], improve my form, going smooth over the barrier, staying calm and relaxed,” added Aceves.
Aceves earned a qualifying time at the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Conference Championships a week before, but went to Westmont to try and run a faster time.
“I expected to run faster, maybe like five to seven seconds faster,” said Aceves.
Aceves did not run a new personal best but she still has a guaranteed spot at the national meet.
“Last weekend I knew more girls were going to try and make it to nationals,” said Aceves.
“I was nervous but confident that I would make it,” continued Aceves.
Aceves is at the part in her training where she is tapering down.
Tapering down is a phase in an athlete’s season where they shorten their workouts as they approach the biggest meet of their season.
The strategy is to make their last race the fastest race.
“There are fewer speed workouts and more recovering, that’s the most important part right now, recovery,” said Aceves.
Aceves has had a rougher season than most.
Due to being anemic, she had to sit out of races for nearly two months because of the extreme fatigue it caused her.
“Under the circumstances coming back healthy was more important. I know I can do more,” said Aceves.
Although her physical condition was not desired, Aceves never stopped.
“Before the season this was my goal, to qualify for nationals,” said Aceves.
Aceves is currently ranked 17th in the NCAA Division II Championships.
The meet will take place in Florida on May 26 and 27.
Aceves will race the steeplechase prelims on May 26, and if she qualifies, she will participate in the finals on May 27.
“Hopefully I can make it to finals and give it all,” said Aceves.
For any athlete back to back competition is a challenge, but Aceves is prepared.
“It’s about what I do before and after my race,” said Aceves.
Aceves has competed in back to back races before and is ready and confident for the challenge.
“If I take it upon myself, I’ll be fine,” said Aceves.
Aceves is excited to get out there and compete against the nation’s best Division II athletes.
“My goal for nationals, give it all,” said Aceves.
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