It runs in the family

Freshmen twins Chloe and Emma Arriaga have burst on to the running scene by going on to place first and sixth place, respectively, at CIF Southern Section Prelims in Riverside, all while using one another to keep pushing for faster and better races.

“Before a race it’s important to get ready mentally. I like to lay down and picture the race while breathing in and relaxing. If you’re too excited or nervous, you could go out too fast and end up not getting a good time,” Chloe said.

Chloe and Emma started running together seven years ago when their mother sporadically brought them to a running club. From the beginning, their motivation to train hard everyday and compete at a high level was each other.

“I started running when I was seven, and I’ve been running with my sister this entire time. It’s really nice to have a partner to run with because she pushes me every day,” Emma said. “My goal this entire season was to beat my sister because I know that if I can do that then I just did really well. It’s kind of like a sibling rivalry. We’re competitive during practices too.”

It’s not just taking each other to the next level, but creating memories and more value to the sport of running. Even though Chloe ended up placing seventh in the state, what is more important in the long run is that running has become a platform for the sisters to bond.

“Even though maybe right now I might not like [competing with my sister] so much, I know that later in my running career I’ll really appreciate having my sister to run with everyday. She’s always there to compete with me so we make each other better,” Chloe said.

They have experienced Junior Olympics, youth 5k and 10k championships and ultimately a sport that they have competed in for the majority of their lives. Yet, running competitively at this high of a level still teaches them valuable lessons that they can apply to everyday life.

“Through running, I think I learn how to relax and keep it cool. I know it’s not as bad as it seems. If I want to stay focused I put my mind into it and it’s not that bad. Even if I’m in pain during a race or something I’ll just keep going,” Emma said. “You get this feeling when you have a passion for something, it just keeps driving you to do better each time.”

As they are still only freshmen, there is still much more to look forward to in the next four years of cross country and track and field 一 and even further down the line, such as collegiate and olympic level running.

“I have so many goals for the rest of the high school, like breaking the Mt. Sac record,” Chloe said. “Of course my sister has the same goals, we grew up in the same household and we practice with each other everyday. We’re going to keep pushing each other and trying to achieve great things.”

Cross country head coach Jim Polite believes that they can keep bringing each other to new levels. Their mentality, he believes, is one of the first steps to achieving greatness.

“When you get runners like Chloe and Emma, they don’t like to lose, period. So when I see mentality like that, I get excited as a coach,” Polite said. “They’ll be hitting each other on the shoulder and hate running side by side because they’ll want to be in front. I myself can’t take any credit for what they’ve accomplished or what they will, but I’m going to keep trying to encourage them to keep putting in the work. They can really do great things if they keep this up.” 

Neck to neck again in a workout, Chloe and Emma glance over at each other and instinctively run a little faster. They have already proved their running talent and dedication, yet want to keep paving the way to new heights for themselves and one another. Here we go again.

By Brian Chen, Staff writer

Photo by Sajid Iqbal