Belen's Aaron Valenzuela (Belen jersey in forefront) will be running in a New Mexico State University Aggie uniform next fall. Photo by Rod Stanopeiwicz.
On April 14, Belen senior Aaron Valenzuela signed his National Letter of Intent to run cross-country and track and field for the New Mexico State Aggies.
Valenzuela has been a staple for the Eagles, serving as the point man for the potent 1-2 attack in the fall of 2014. Valenzuela only saw three runners finish ahead of him during the entire 2014 Cross Country season, culminating in an individual runner-up finish in Class 5A with a 16:11.50 clocking.
On the track, Valenzuela takes advantage of both Indoor and Outdoor seasons. Valenzuela holds Indoor Personal Bests of: 54.79 for 400m, 2:02.37 for 800m, 4:32.62 for the Mile, 10:00.09 for 3200m, and 10:01.94 for 2 Miles. As for Outdoor, Valenzuela's Person Bests read: 1:58.97 for 800m, 4:30.33 for 1600m, and 9:49.71 for 3200m.
What clinched the decision for the school you are signing with? My decision to sign with NMSU was final after I made my official visit in February. I really admired the work ethic the team has. The coaches really try to help their athletes reach their full potential and that was one of the main goals in choosing a college. School wise, the campus was very nice. I really enjoyed taking a tour and being able to become familiar with that area. That was the biggest factor in choosing a school; would I be able to prosper academically? With NMSU, I believe I will.
What is your favorite Track event? I really like all the events I run in track but if I had to pick a favorite, the 800 would be it. It's really fast and you experience an adrenaline rush. Two laps of flat out sprinting to see who will last until the end. The 800 is a true test of an individuals ability.
Valenzuela ran the third fastest time and finished as Class 5A Individual Runner-up at the 2014 NMAA State Cross Country Championships. Photo by Holly Peterson.
Of the two seasons, which do you prefer, fall or spring? There are actually three seasons I go through during the year. The fall with XC, the Winter with Indoor Track, and the Spring with Outdoor Track. My favorite would have to be the Fall because of Cross Country. I really enjoy running through all the types of terrain. Every weekend has a new course and a new atmosphere. I really enjoy racing against a huge crowd because it makes you want to go that much faster. Every athlete has the chance to prove his/her ability. One race, one champion.
What is your favorite High School Athletic memory? My favorite high school athletic memory was probably this season when I volunteered to run the 4x400m in Ruidoso. My coach told me to aim for a 55 split but I ended up hitting a 49.4 split which really shocked them and myself. I secretly knew I could hit a faster time than 55 seconds, I just didn't know that fast! My coaches were really happy and so was I.
Word to the Wise: Every coach I've talked to has told me that running year-round has a very big impact on your athletic ability. XC, Indoor, and Outdoor. They all are key components to your running career.
Valenzuela with his Coaches and Family after signing his National Letter of Intent. Photo courtesy of Aaron Valenzuela.