After trying to eliminate the pressure she put on herself in high school, freshman cross-country runner Arabella Reece said she now feels more driven to perform. With three collegiate races under her belt, Reece has broken the Chapman women’s cross-country record twice this semester.
“It’s almost more nerve-wracking now,” Reece said. “I have more confidence in myself, but at the same time, more people are watching.”
Reece, a freshman communication studies major, began her collegiate cross-country career by breaking Chapman’s 5K record Sept. 15 with a time of 18:09.1.
Reece was welcomed across the finish line by cheers from her parents who live an hour away, she said.
But, a week after her first record, on Sept. 22 Reece broke her own record, running a personal best time of 18:03.5. Reece placed eleventh out of 212 runners. The next Chapman runner placed 104th.
Sara Wanous, a 2017 graduate, set the previous record in 2013, with a time of 18:39.7.
Growing up, Reece’s physical education teacher and her parents urged her to run cross-country, she said. She decided to run competitively in high school, following in her brother’s footsteps.
“I just ended up loving (running). The benefits that come with running socially and physically have been top-notch,” Reece said.
Reece is a “go-getter” who brings excitement to the team, Chapman’s cross-country head coach DeAndra’e Woods said. When she’s not on the track, Reece has a passion for music, she said. In her downtime, she said she sings and plays guitar (in a band).
“(Music is) something that defines me, because I love everything about it,” Reece said. “I love going to shows, listening to (and) playing music.”
Mia Hernandez, senior cross-country runner, said Reece’s good attitude impacts the entire team.
“(Reece’s positivity) really helps the team whether it be at workouts, practices, or races,” Hernandez. “No one is as nervous when you see someone like her around.”
Reece said her close-knit bond with the team has helped build her confidence.
“It’s been really welcoming,” Reece said. “(My teammates) have been so supportive. All the girls have been so great.”
Reece said she now holds herself to elevated standards after her record-breaking races.
“I don’t want to disappoint anybody and I don’t want to disappoint myself,” Reece said. “If more records come then that’ll be (good), but if not then we have more seasons in the future.”