Photo contributed to flrunners.com by Raul Ramirez
With dark skies closing in on Showalter Field in Winter Park, Andres Arroyo of Colonial decided he better run fast if he wanted to get the race in at the rain-shortened Metro Prelims. The Boys 1600 ended up being the last race of the night; Andres ran Florida's third fastest high school 1600 all-time.
"When we first sat down and talked about Metros our goal was just to go 61 on every 400," Arroyo said, "My mind was just focused on getting a PR. As soon as I heard they were (going to) postpone the meet I thought I wasn't (going to get to) run so i was kind of mad, and that kind of kicked in my adrenaline before the race a little."
As the rain inched closer and Arroyo started clipping away the laps, the early pace was even quicker than he intended: 58 and 1:58.5 over the first two laps.
"I was just focused on running does 61s, but suddenly I hear (the announcer) Gary Cohen say "he is going sub 4 pace!" Everybody went nuts. That's when I realized..... Wow!"
He finished off the last two in 3:01 and 4:04.45, with second place being 21 seconds behind. His time puts him third on the all-time list in Florida behind Sammy Vazquez of Flagler Palm Coast and John Jefferson of Delray Beach Atlantic. Both of those performances were achieved at large national meets against elite competition. Arroyo, meanwhile, achieved the feat all alone, making it all the more incredible.
Vazquez set the state record of 4:02.46 (converted from mile) in 2003 at adidas Outdoor Nationals. After nine years of struggling, Vazquez finally made the 1500 meter Olympic standard last year and competed for Puerto Rico at the London Games. Arroyo, who suddenly looks to have a legitimate chance to take down that record in the coming weeks, coincidentally also represents Puerto Rico while competing internationally.
Arroyo says he is clearly pleased with his progress, as another step on a long road of goals.
"It means a lot! It's another obstacle achieved, and it feels great that all my training is showing!"
Andres will have little time to rest. While most of the state's elite distance runners are headed to Tallahassee for the FSU Relays, Arroyo will be flying to Poland to represent Puerto Rico in the World Junior Cross Country Championships.