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2014 All-SCV Girls Track and Field Team

Canyon's Natalie Rodriguez is Female Athlete of the Year

Posted: June 25, 2014 10:33 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2014 10:33 p.m.
Canyon’s Natalie Rodriguez ran the third-best time in Canyon history in the 3,200-meter race. Canyon’s Natalie Rodriguez ran the third-best time in Canyon history in the 3,200-meter race.
Canyon’s Natalie Rodriguez ran the third-best time in Canyon history in the 3,200-meter race.

Natalie Rodriguez was one hundredth of a second short of winning her first Foothill League track and field title this year.

It was no doubt an agonizing loss for the Canyon High senior, who came up short in a photo finish of the 3,200-meter race at league finals on May 8.

Saugus sophomore up-and-comer Ashley Heys outkicked her in the final 100 meters to take the league championship at 10 minutes, 49.51 seconds. Rodriguez was the runner-up in 10:49.52.

But everything you need to know about Rodriguez shone through by the way she responded.

Rodriguez didn’t pout or cry or stomp away in anger.

She put her headphones on and ran loops around the infield of the track at College of the Canyons by herself while the rest of the Foothill League meet played out.

Afterward, she smiled and talked about how she had big plans for upcoming CIF races.

It was as if she knew she’d get the last word.

And after all, she had dealt with worse than losing a race before.

As a junior, Rodriguez battled anemia, which sidelined her through much of cross country and track season.

The condition turned her from a promising sophomore runner the previous year to a middle-of-the road runner in league as a junior.

But she put her nose to the grindstone throughout the summer and put in all the tough miles to get her back into shape for cross country and track season.

That’s why she wasn’t going to let one lost race define her season.

Two weeks after coming within a whisker of the Foothill 3,200 title, she ran the race of her life at CIF-Southern Section finals and took third place in Division II in 10:45.95.

She was well ahead of Heys in the same race.

Not only did Rodriguez get a CIF medal for it, she advanced to the CIF-SS Masters Meet the following week.

Once again, she recorded a lifetime best in that race, clocking 10:42.38. Though that put her at No. 3 all-time in Canyon history in the event, it was short of qualifying for the state finals.

It was the most impressive postseason run of any female track and field athlete in the league this season.

Others started off strong and were halted by injuries late. Some simply peaked slightly too early.

But as the races became more important and Rodriguez needed to be at the top of her game, she was.

And she was a model of consistency in all three distance races this season.

Rodriguez helped her team out by scoring points in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 in league dual meets.

She ended the year ranked 25th in the state in the 3,200 and 82nd in the 1,600.

But there’s no question why Canyon senior Natalie Rodriguez is The Signal’s 2014 All-Santa Clarita Valley Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year.


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