Like most members of the resilient class of 2020, Jacob Ozuna is leaving his mark.
But the impression this MacArthur High School senior is making is quite literal. The standout runner has etched his name next to four of the five records in the school’s cross country program.
A varsity runner all four years of high school, Ozuna was quick to rewrite the record books.
As a sophomore, he shattered the 4,000-meter time. He then clocked the school’s best ever times in the 3200-meter and 3-mile races as a junior.
Ozuna began his final high school season snagging the 2-mile race record at the Friday Night Hawk Invitational in Carrollton with a time of 10 minutes and 53 seconds. The previous record was set in 2015.
“It’s not very often that we get a runner of this caliber,” says MacArthur boys’ head cross country Coach Eric Alonzo. “It takes a lot of self-discipline and commitment. We all can participate in a 5K. But to do it with the ambition to be the best that you can be takes a lot of determination. It’s not very easy for these athletes to get up and commit themselves to be at workouts every morning at 6:30 on a consistent basis. But it translates into life lessons and things that they can take with them.”
Ozuna was his team’s top runner in many races since his freshman year. As a senior, Ozuna placed first for MacArthur in all nine of the races the team ran.
“Being the top runner was not what I was going for when I was running,” he says. “I was running for time and wanted to PR [set a personal record] every race.”
In addition to the records he holds, Ozuna is also proud of making the varsity team as a freshman and qualifying for regionals his sophomore year.
He credits his parents and coaches, including Coach David Lewis, who oversaw the school’s summer training. They are influences that Coach Alonzo is quick to affirm.
“His parents have been there from day one,” says Coach Alonzo. “They’re at every race. If they see that it’s something that’s important to him, they’re going to support it. In addition, Coach Lewis has been very instrumental in helping him with his technique and coach him year-round. This has helped him and gotten him over the edge.”
Ozuna also competed on the school’s swim team, was a four-year regional-qualifier in wrestling, and qualified for regionals in the 3,200 and pole vault in track. In fact, he qualified for regionals in three varsity sports – cross country wrestling and track – as a sophomore. However, running is his favorite sport.
“I’ve been running since elementary school, since third grade,” he says. “I just fell in love with running. I love to compete.The training and races were challenging, but having good teammates all four years made it fun. ”
Ozuna will continue to compete at the college level as he has signed with Ranger College, where he will study welding.
“It was an honor to be asked to compete on the next level,” he says. “I am excited for this new opportunity to compete at Ranger College and be pushed to be a better runner. I will be running for my family, coaches, teammates and MacArthur High School.”
While Ozuna is closing his career as a MacArthur Cardinal, Coach Alonzo is hopeful that his legacy will continue.
“We had a very good runner come through last year, and Jacob was able to learn from him,” says Coach Alonzo. “And now, we’ve got kids that are freshmen and underclassmen that are learning the training habits by watching Jacob run. I am confident success will continue for MacArthur High School with Jacob’s example.”