Minutes before a race, senior track and field distance runner Lenore Moreno puts her headphones in her ears.
At that moment, all the outside noise is blocked out and she is locked in.
“Draft Day” by Drake is the song of choice for today’s race.
Drake is her favorite.
“I always listen to music before a race,” Moreno said. “It just gives me confidence.”
Once the headphones are out of her ears and her feet are on the line, Moreno does not need any more of Drake’s boastful lyrics to get her motivated.
She just does what she is best at: running.
“It is just something I love and have a passion for,” Moreno said. “It clears my mind and I have no worries at all when I run.”
“When you got a passion for something that strong you can do it at all the time,” she said.
Moreno has had yet another record-setting season.
This season, Moreno broke a 32-year-old Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record in the 5,000-meter race.
She also won the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championship in that same event.
Her time of 16:32.85 was the third fastest time in NCAA Division III history.
Her 10,000-meter race time of 33:49.04 this season broke a school record.
It was the third fastest time in Division III.
Moreno was one of three Leopards named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Athletes of the Year.
Not to mention, Moreno earned USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week honors and has been named SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week, multiple times.
In 2012, Moreno became the first La Verne woman in history to earn All-American honors in cross country.
In the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships at Occidental this weekend, Moreno finished second in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:36.10,
She came second to Cal Lutheran’s Melissa Skiba.
Moreno placed first in the 5000 meter race beating Skiba with a time of 16:48.7.
Skiba finished with a time of 17:28.69.
“The season has been going better than expected,” Moreno said. “I didn’t think it would be this successful, but I am happy with it. I am very honored and blessed.”
Cross country head coach Bryan George works with the distance runners during the track season and has helped Moreno raise her level of performance.
“Lenore obviously is very competitive,” George said. “Her work ethic is pretty incredible.”
Moreno grew up in West Covina and attended West Covina High School, where she found her love for running.
She was a part of the cross country team for all four years and a member of the track and field team for two years.
Outside of running, Moreno enjoys spending time with family and friends.
She also likes going to Angels’ games.
Moreno graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in movement and sports science.
Though she is a senior on the track, Moreno is a graduate student earning her teaching credentials.
She wants to become a middle school physical education teacher or a nutritionist.
All of this came based on her passion for running.
After Moreno is done studying at La Verne she hopes to keep running competitively.
Her love for the sport inspires her teammates as well.
“It motivates the rest of us to see where hard work can take you,” junior men’s track and field runner Jayden Earlywine said.
Moreno will easily be remembered as one of the best athletes to ever walk the University of La Verne campus.
“The influence that she has on the current runners will live on in a very positive way,” George said.
Moreno will be taking her talents to the national stage as she will compete in the NCAA Division III National Championships starting May 22 in Delaware, Ohio.
There, Moreno hopes to be like Drake and make “Headlines.”
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.