A year ago, sophomore Arlene Diaz Leal could never imagine should be continuing her running on scholarship. After nearly a 10 year absence from college and competition, Arlene returned to Hartnell College to become a member of the women's cross country team. In her fall return, she steadily improved to team leader over the second half of the season. Diaz Leal was the 2018 Coast Conference champion by placing first at Toro Park. Two weeks later, she placed fourth overall at the Northern California Championship also at Toro Park. Her time of 19:30 over the challenging three mile course makes her one of the best performers in program history. Her performance propelled the Panthers to a second place team trophy with th the lowest point total in program history (41 points). Despite a sub-standard performance at the CCCAA Championship, her first fall could be considered a huge success for the then 28 year old mother.
Arlene returned for Fall 2018 looking to raise her recruiting stock. With the help of improved teammates and competitive freshmen, Arlene placed third overall at the 2018 Coast Conference Championship to earn her second all-conference honors. A week later, Arlene became a rare repeat top 5 finisher at the Northern California Championship. Her fifth place finish was instrumental in powering a Panther team that would record the lowest team score in regional champoinsihp history (19 points). DiazLeal would be the cap on an oustanding cross country career with a 19th place finish at the CCCAA Championship in Fresno that helped her team to a second ever state trophy and second place finish. Her mark of 19:05 over th 5km course at Woodward Park is the seventh best all-time in program history.
Diaz Leal will transfer for spring 2019 to CSU Monterey and join the NCAA DII program that competes in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. She will be a business major.