For The Madera Tribune
Madera South cross country and track runner Dariana Miramontes signs her National Letter of Intent to run at UC Riverside in the fall.
When Madera South cross country and track runner Dariana Miramontes was looking at schools, she wanted to go far, but not too far.
Hence, her choices of CSU Fullerton, CSU San Marcos and UC Riverside for college.
In the end, Miramontes signed her National Letter of Intent to run for UC Riverside last week.
“When I was looking at schools, what I was focusing on was the environment the team created,” she said. “I wanted a school that matched what I wanted athletically and academically. Everything Riverside was providing, it looked like a great place to be at. The coach helped out, also. He seemed like a great guy to help me become better.”
Miramontes, like all of the spring sports athletes, saw her track season end prematurely and is trying to pass the time as best as possible.
“Everything is really sad because we can’t finish out senior year at school or accomplish what I wanted to do in track season,” she said. “I’m trying to stay positive and do what I can, at the moment. I’m doing my assignments in school. I’m still working out and running at home.”
Miramontes joins another established Madera South runner who graduated from UC Riverside — Alisha Brown. In fact, Miramontes broke Brown’s school record during last year’s state championship.
Miramontes placed eighth at the Div. I Central Section championships and earned a berth to the CIF State Cross Country Championships where she finished a promising 21st with a personal record time of 18:10.6 to break Brown’s school record.
“I received messages from my coach and he sends me messages that Alisha mentioned me,” she said.
Miramontes continues the Madera South cross country reputation of sending runners to college. She joins boys runner Luis Ortega in the latest signing class.
“I’m so happy to be able to keep it going.” Miramontes said. “My freshman year, I didn’t know running in college was a thing. Being around my teammates who were seniors and were doing the same thing I am doing now, I was thinking they were talented and amazing. Looking back, I’m glad they were around to give me their support and now I’m following in their footsteps.”
“Dariana is very self driven,” Madera South cross country coach Skye Fierro said. “She has tons on intrinsic motivation. If you tell her to do something, she will get it done and get it done the right way. This is three coaches that have all sent runners off to college. It says more about the athletes we are getting that they are a bunch of hard workers. If you point them in the right direction, they are going to do what they can to get to the finish line. That is amazing to keep the tradition going. These two kids (Dariana and Luis Ortega) are hard workers and are going to represent Madera South and the city of Madera well. As a college athletes, they are representing more than Madera South cross country. They will be representing Madera athletes.”
Miramontes said it was like a dream come true to be able to go to a college and run.
“I’m super proud,” she said. “When you’re a freshman, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. It’s making me proud and grateful of what I’ve been able to experience and accomplish.”
For Miramontes, it was a relief to finally putting her name on the dotted line to commit to Fresno Pacific.
“I was so relieved to sign,” she said. “ I signed it super late in the year. The whole time, I was stressed because I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make the right choice. When I did it, I was super relieved. The coach was really understanding of my season getting canceled. He had faith in me and knew I was determined and I was going to accomplish things.”
Miramontes said both her coaches and her parents were proud of her.
“My parents don’t know much about going to college for running,” she said. “They were happy I was going to college to get a career. My coaches were happy and a big help in the decision-making. When I finally signed, they were happy I was happy about the choice I made.”
While Miramontes is happy about the choice she made, her parents are even happier that she isn’t too far away.
“Every parent wants their kids to stay close,” she said. “I have some family in Los Angeles so they will visit whenever they want and are happy and proud. They know how adventurous I am and they know I can do it.”