Montana has produced some remarkable runners throughout its history, but none put on a show quite like Christina Aragon did at the 2016 State AA meet, setting all-class state records in the 800-meter run (2 minutes, 5.65 seconds), 1,600-meter run (4:43.51) and 3,200-meter run (10:23.31). All three records still stand.
Aragon just wrapped up her fifth year at Stanford University with her seventh all-American finish between cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. Aragon has been decompressing since the NCAA national meet, but she says she’ll be back in Palo Alto for year six.
“This past year was weird with Covid, so I now have a full sixth year, as well. So I’ve actually decided to come back and take that sixth year. Next year I’ll be returning to Stanford and be able to run all three seasons. I have cross country, indoor and outdoor.”
It’s been a roller coaster career for Aragon at Stanford, as she’s battled numerous stress injuries to her feet and hip. Couple those challenging injuries with physical maturation and Aragon has had to step back and reassess her training.
“As a high schooler I think I had a mindset that was more grind all the time and push through things. You can just push your body to the brink and that’s how you’re good. You get older and you learn that your body is not invincible and that grinding all the time isn’t actually totally sustainable," she said. "I had to have a lot of growth there and learn that it’s OK and it’s very good to take easy days. Not every day has to be your 100% max effort. It’s important to have those days where you give yourself both a physical and mental break.”
Aragon got to take in the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon as a spectator, watching her older sister Dani run in the 1,500. Christina got to soak in the atmosphere and the experience as a fan, but she’s eyeing a chance to compete in the Olympic Trials in 2024.
“I would like to run in the Olympic Trials again. Being out there and watching my sister did spark some more excitement for me. Everything ebbs and flows with how you’re feeling about running with injury and everything like that," she said. "It was really special to be out there and see my sister and see my teammates out there running really well. Just the other women, a lot of them I have raced in the past and a lot of people that you know and are connected to. Seeing everyone do so well and be excited, that’s something that’s very motivating.”
For now, Aragon will focus on finishing up her degree in Human Biology, with hopes of going into a career in the medical field, though she says med school can wait for a couple years. Stepping back from academics briefly will give Aragon a chance to test out the professional running ranks, should that opportunity arise.
“I’m hoping in the few years between finishing my undergrad and going back to school, that would maybe be the time where I would run professionally a little bit," Aragon said. "Either way, whether I run professionally, I definitely don’t want to go straight into school. I’m hoping to use that time to experiment a little bit. Maybe be a physical therapy assistant or something like that and kind of get a feel for some of the professions that I’d be interested in and start to narrow down exactly my choices between that. But I know something associated with working closely with people and anatomy and physiology, I think.”
Aragon will be chasing down more accolades beginning next fall with the cross country season.