Calexico High School senior Madison Longton will be competing in the 3,200-meter race at the CIF-San Diego Section Division I Track and Field Finals at Del Norte High School in San Diego on Saturday, June 12. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO
SAN DIEGO — It has been a whirlwind year for Calexico High School senior Madison Longton.
From the threat of COVID wiping out everything she wanted to do her senior year of high school to just about all of her dreams coming true, the 18-year-old Longton has been on a winning streak lately, and not just on the track, but also in the classroom.
Longton will be the only representative from Calexico competing at the CIF-San Diego Section Division I Track and Field Finals at Del Norte High School on Saturday, June 12. That athletic highlight comes a day after she graduates from Calexico High School.
To top off those two great days, she was recently told she has been accepted as a freshman to begin in spring 2022 at the University of Southern California, and through the school’s financial aid program, most of her academic and living expenses will be covered.
“Lately it’s been good news, after good news, after good news for me,” said Longton.
The Bulldogs’ distance runner will be competing in the 3,200-meter race. It’s the 2-mile run and the longest event at the CIF-SDS track meet.
Longton finished second in the 3,200-meter race at the Imperial Valley League championship meet in Imperial in late May, but because the first-place finisher chose not to participate in the CIF-SDS finals, she was given the automatic bid to the championship meet.
“Running for me is very therapeutic,” Longton said. “It’s a good escape from reality. You just go out and run and let your mind go blank.”
She ran cross country for the Bulldogs in each of the last two years and ran track as a sophomore, and would have run as a junior had COVID not canceled the season after just one meet.
Coming into her senior year, Longton wasn’t sure what to expect. Like most, she expected there to be no live school, and she wasn’t hopeful there would be any high school sports.
“I was so happy when it was announced that cross country and other sports were beginning,” Longton said. “Honestly, the first few months of quarantine were nice and I got to take a break, but after a couple months it got boring.”
Longton said she wasn’t in the best condition for the cross country season in March, but has worked her way back into shape during the track season. Now she says she’s excited and ready to run on Saturday.
“I’m just going to go and give everything I have,” she said. “I’m going to shoot for the school record.”
She thinks it’ll be easier to run a faster time at the CIF Finals due to the amount of competition that’ll be on the track.
“The weather is going to be perfect and the competition is going to be fast on the track so you just know you have to do whatever you can to keep pace,” Longton said.
Longton has been distance running since she was in middle school at Kiki Camarena in Calexico. She said she moved to Washington state and continued to run there before returning to Calexico as a sophomore.
“I actually earned an ‘Ironwoman’ award in Washington when I was in middle school,” Longton said.
Regardless how she performs on the track Saturday, Longton is elated she knows her future is clear at USC.
“I am going to study architecture,” she said. “I am very intrigued by big buildings and would love to be able to help design something like that or an airport.”