From Start to Finish

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Concepcion Sets New Bar For HCU Women’s Cross Country Runners


HCU junior Arlette Concepción had a banner season this past fall, securing multiple top-five finishes, an individual title and becoming the cross country program’s first-ever United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) female all-region honoree.

Concepción earned the all-region laurels thanks to a 21st place finish out of more than 180 runners at the 2023 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships held in Fayetteville, Ark. on Nov. 10. The top 25 finishers at an NCAA regional meet are named all-region, and Concepción joins Matt Perri as the only other HCU runner to accomplish the feat. Perri’s USFTCCCA all-region honor came in 2013 when he placed fifth at the regional.

Two weeks prior to the NCAA regional, Concepción posted the best-ever finish at a Southland Conference Championship (SLC) meet. The junior crossed the finish line on a soggy course just three seconds behind Lamar’s Nia Clatworthy to place second out of more than 60 runners from conference institutions. Concepción’s runner-up finish was the best by an HCU runner since Jessica Rabius finished fourth overall in 2021.

Concepción opened the 2023 season by finishing third overall and second among college runners at the 47th Annual Rice Invitational held on the Rice University campus. She then followed that up with the individual title at the UIW XC Invitational/Southland Preview a week later, winning the 6K race by more than 19 seconds on the very course where the conference championship race would be held in late October.

To put Concepción’s performance and growth this season into perspective, prior to her 21st-place finish at regionals, she finished 74th as a sophomore and 86th as a freshman. Additionally, at her first two SLC Championship meets, she placed 22nd both times before improving to second place this year.