Arvizu signs to run for Pima

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Plain and simple, she was never the fastest Lady Hawk runner.


Then again—in Rio Rico High cross country and track and field program’s that are consistently among the state’s best—few are.


That, however, didn’t stop red and old gold graduate Edith Arvizu from reaching her goal—which is to run at the next level.


That was made official May 17 when she signed to run on a full cross county and track and field scholarship for Pima Community College next season.


“I got really excited and motivated to continue my running career,” Arvizu said. “All that dedication throughout high school finally paid off.”


This past November, that dedication also helped her Lady Hawks take their first Division III cross country title since 2007. Arvizu—who began running only a few years ago—finished third on the team and 17th overall in a time of 20 minutes, 40 seconds.


“Edith set a standard of maturity on the team,” Rio Rico High volunteer coach Stephen Schadler said. “She was never our number one runner, but she always pursued whoever was number one at the time. This set a great example to the other girls to quit feeling sorry for themselves and to start getting after it.”


Because she did, Schadler added that Arvizu was “solid as a rock. I always knew what I would count on, and she never disappointed me.”


Her new coach, Greg Wenneborg, is expecting the same.


“Edith is, first, a hard worker who is motivated and clearly loves the sport,” he said. “We feel very fortunate to have her choose Pima College.


“She comes from a dominant program in Rio Rico,” Wenneborg added. “She will adjust well to the volume, intensity and level of competition at the college level.”


And Arvizu’s intensity was something that was apparent at Rio Rico High, because Schadler also described her as “just about the gentlest fighter I have ever met.”


The fighter part, though, was what stood out for Schadler when he recalled one of Arvizu’s defining moments this past season when she fell in a race, got up and dusted herself off to finish the final 800 meters.


“I hadn’t seen it happen, so when I asked her how she finished, she said, ‘I think I hurt my leg,’” Schadler recalled. “I looked down and I had never in my life seen such a grapefruit swelling across her shin. She is one tough cookie!”


Arvizu is also the daughter of Jose and Bianca Arvizu—a couple that can’t say enough of their daughter’s success.


“We are proud of her because that’s what she wanted in the first place,” Jose said. “We see this as a reward for her sacrifices.”


As for their sacrifices, Bianca said, “We don’t see (what we did) as sacrifices. It’s a blessing for us to give her all the necessary tools she needed for success.”


Now, Arvizu—who graduated with a 3.4 GPA—will take those same tools to Tucson, where she plans to hone them for a Lady Aztec squad that also has a history of leading the pack.


In fact, the Pima women have placed in the Top 10 at the national championships every year since 2007—and only hope to get better.


“The women will compete for a conference and region title and will be contenders,” Wenneborg said of the coming season. “At the national championships, the women will almost certainly have a shot at a top five finish as a team.”


And Arvizu is eager to be a part of that.


“I can continue to improve on the course as well as in academics,” she said, adding that the challenge will be “getting adapted to a whole new system of life.”


Arvizu, though, is no stranger to challenges—and for those who now find themselves in her same shoes, she offered some words of advice.


“My advice … is to never give up! And to keep fighting all the way to the finish line!” she said. “Sometimes it may get tough, but what will keep them going is their pride of their team.


“Running beyond high school was my biggest dream,” she concluded, “and now I got to pursue it!”


That pursuit might not stop at Pima, either, because the goal Wenneborg has for all his athletes doesn’t stop with the Aztecs.


“Our goal is to help provide student-athletes coming to Pima the opportunity to get a great education and compete at a very high level in order to help them get to the NCAA level,” he said. “We believe in developing all levels of talent and providing great opportunity … and we feel that Edith is a very good fit for the goals of our program.”


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