Darcy Arreola rose to new heights this weekend but wound up frustrated with the trip.
An eight-time Division II All-American at Cal State Northridge and the school record-holder in the 1,500 meters, Arreola stepped up to the rarefied air of Provo, Utah, (altitude 4,549 feet) for the NCAA Division I track championships this weekend. And the experience proved breathtaking as Arreola faded over the final 300 meters to finish third in Saturday's 1,500 final in 4 minutes, 22.40 seconds.
Wisconsin's Suzanne Favor won in 4:15.83, and Rosalind Taylor of Maryland nipped Arreola at the wire for second in 4:21.97.
"I think the altitude really did Darcy in," CSUN Coach Don Strametz said.
Arreola and Favor shared the lead through the first three laps, passing 800 meters in 2:17 and 1,200 in 3:24. "Then it looked liked the altitude just hit Darcy," Strametz said.
"I really felt it in the arms," Arreola said. "But it's altitude for everybody.
"I guess I'm pretty disappointed. If I hadn't got passed right at the end, it would have been OK."
Arreola, who lowered her 1,500 best to 4:14.15 in last month's Division II championships, said that she plans to run in The Athletics Congress national championships "and maybe two or three other meets" before leaving the track to begin building a foundation for the fall cross-country season.