The Turning Point for Alex Lomeli

SDSU+junior+cross+country+runner+Alex+Lomeli+making+a+turn+during+a+race+%28Photo+courtesy+of+SDSU+Athletics%29.

SDSU Athletics

SDSU junior cross country runner Alex Lomeli making a turn during a race (Photo courtesy of SDSU Athletics).

by Daniela Ramirez, Staff Writer

Junior Alex Lomeli led the Aztecs on Sep. 25 in Cal State San Marcos’ Cougar Challenge. Lomeli ran her career-best 6,000-meter time of 21:42.5. 

Out of the 139 runners in Lomeli’s race, she placed 13th. The race was the largest Lomeli has competed in. 

The junior has been training intensively to make the travel squad at San Diego State. The nerves kicked in immediately since there was more at stake this time around. 

For Lomeli, no matter what race she competes in, she said leaving it all on the course is what she does.  

Her hard work paid off, as Lomeli traveled with the team on Oct.1 for the Dave Murray Invite in Arizona. 

Lomeli started her running career at eight years old. She grew up in Santa Monica, California, where she joined her first track club: The Mile Leaders. 

All throughout middle and high school, Lomeli competed as a varsity runner. Her post-graduation goal was to be a part of a D1 running program. 

SDSU was recommended by an old running club friend and — after visiting the campus — she said there was no doubt in Lomeli’s mind that this was going to be her home for the next four years. 

Lomeli says she always wanted to challenge herself to compete as a D1 athlete. The current women’s cross country team is one of the best the school has seen motivated Lomeli’s decision. 

Lomeli said she was given an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. 

Lomeli’s journey has been filled with ups and downs. Multiple injuries have set her back while also having to sit out a complete season at one point gave her a new perspective on how to condition during training season. 

“I got a stress fracture right before regionals,” Lomeli said. “It can be frustrating, knowing you can run faster but you physically can’t.” 

Despite the challenges, Lomeli’s last track season was a breakthrough moment for her career. Coming back to the track after a long rehabilitation, Lomeli ran an 800 meter, at a time of 2:12, as well as a 4:40 1500 meter. 

Lomeli said SDSU is not only known for sports, but the education they provide all students. Lomeli is a kinesiology major and she said the stress that comes with the workload of a STEM major can be mentally exhausting. 

In a sport like cross country, the phrase ‘it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon’ is taken literally. Races can take upwards to half an hour depending on the length of the course, and a racer’s pace can make or break how they perform. 

Lomeli says she struggled in pacing herself in the four-mile races.  “I always went out too fast in the beginning,” Lomeli said. 

Understanding how to race cross country was Lomeli’s goal for this season. After many years, she started to see the results of her training. 

Lomeli finished top 10 at the Dave Murray Invitational, starting off at a steady pace and driving it throughout the race led her to one of the best races in her career. 

“I didn’t even realize I was in the top 10, I was so focused,” Lomeli said. 

Coach Robert Lusitana — who works with Lomeli — says he’s seen her progress from being a track runner to becoming a smart cross country racer. 

“She (Lomeli) became a cross country runner,” Lusitana said. “She always saw herself as a track runner, but she has learned how to race a 6k.” 

Lomeli will be a senior next year and is becoming a faster yet smarter runner is one of her biggest goals in the upcoming seasons. 

Breaking 21 minutes for four miles, along with being a top three-point scorer, are on Lomeli’s list for next year. 

“Definitely a goal to be the top runner,” Lomeli said. 

Spending her first couple years at SDSU to heal mentally and physically, everything has clicked this season for Lomeli’s running career. 

The women’s cross country team will be competing in the Titan Invitational in Fullerton, Oct. 22. 

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