LAUREL — Hardin junior Mariah Aragon is all about style.
The star distance runner has made sunglasses part of her signature look when she’s running, and those shades are just a glimpse into the senior’s bubbly personality.
“I like bright colors. I just love stuff that pops that other people wouldn't like. Some people are kind of shy. Me? I'm down to wear bright colors," Aragon told MTN Sports. "And I like to dance a lot. I'll just be over there doing my own little dances just having time to myself, but also having fun and being hyped to run."
Aragon may look cool, calm and collected while holding Class A’s top time in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600, both events she won state titles in last spring, but there’s a whirlwind of thoughts flying through her head when she’s on the track.
“I pray a lot. I pray before I run, during my run and after my run," Aragon said. "God is what blessed me with the abilities, so I just talk to Him through the race. It's my motivation. Like, 'Lord, I need you. I can't finish this last lap. I can't finish these three laps.' I just pray the whole time. 'OK, I'm doing good. The first five meters are done.' We're just having a conversation in my head the entire time."
Aragon has her work cut out for her if she wants to repeat this season. Teammate and eighth grader Karis Brightwings-Pease burst onto the scene to win the State A cross country title and is pushing Aragon to improve day in, day out.
“Karis has been a wonderful partner, almost, to be training with every day. She's so funny. She always makes us laugh. Her and our buddy Zoey (Real Bird), she's also an eighth grader," Aragon said. "They're both really fast and it's blessings to have them on the team and push us. We'd rather be pushed my our teammates and beaten by them than by an opponent."
Surprisingly, the Bulldogs don’t have any state track trophies, but Aragon’s flair and faith could change that later this spring.