Following a highly successful career as a student athlete at Belen High School, 2016 graduate Arena Lewis has now completed an equally successful career at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. She chose Hillsdale over several other collegiate offers because of its excellent scholastic reputation as well as its strong athletic program.
During her four years at Hillsdale, a member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division II level, Lewis competed in cross country in the 3K and 5K runs and in the steeplechase. She earned All-American honors in cross country in 2018, was named G-MAC cross country athlete of the week and was a member of the G-MAC cross country championship team in 2017. She was a four time national meet qualifier in cross country and track and field. She placed 10 times in GMAC races in her sports and was a four time conference runner-up in cross country and track.
Highlighting her senior year was her nomination by the Hillsdale College athletic department for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year award, which recognizes graduating female student athletes who have distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. She earned her conference’s nomination for the award, but was not one of the nine finalists selected by the NCAA.
She graduated cum laude in 2020 with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry. She received the Hillsdale College Marsden Prize in botany and was a member and officer of the Hillsdale branch of Iota Sigma Pi national chemistry honorary. She has been awarded a full-ride graduate scholarship to Michigan State in Lansing, Mich. and will study biochemistry.
Lews graduated from BHS as the valedictorian and as an outstanding athlete. She amassed numerous top finishes in cross country and track and field. During her junior year she was 3-5A cross country district champ and a runner-up at the state championships. In her senior year, she won both titles. She was a two-time 4A state champion in both the 1600 meter and 3200 meter runs.
In addition to her top high school finishes, in her senior year she won the 1600 meter run at the prestigious Sepulveda Classic, an individual only meet featuring top track and field athletes in New Mexico. In her senior year, she also won the 3200 meter in the Nike Rotary Elite Session track and field meet in Chandler, Ariz. with a time of 10:48.47, which was the 15th fastest time in the nation that year. In recognition of her high school athletic achievements, she recently was voted as a Decades Top Distance Runner in a NM Milesplit poll.
Growing up, Lewis also played softball and swam for the Belen Hurricanes. During her senior year, she was a member of the Eagles first ever state qualifying 4×400 freestyle relay team.
She attributes her love for running to her mother, Rebecca, who encouraged her from an early age and to her father, Rex, who has supported her throughout her career. She would like to extend her thanks to all her coaches, teachers and friends who have helped every step of the way.