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Multi-talented Villalobos signs with Bruins

Alyssa Villalobos will head to George Fox, where she aims to train as a heptathlete

Alyssa Villalobos is already a talented all-around athlete, but she’s going to be expanding her repertoire in coming years.

The Forest Grove senior inked her celebratory signing form last Wednesday to attend George Fox, where she will continue her track and field career. She expects to compete in the heptathlon for the Bruins.

“Something kind of just pulled me toward George Fox because it had exactly what I wanted to go for schooling and the opportunity to run track, which has been my dream since I was in elementary school,” Villalobos said.COURTESY PHOTO: FOREST GROVE HIGH SCHOOL
 - Forest Grove senior Alyssa Villalobos announced last Wednesday that she will compete in track and field for George Fox University next year.

Villalobos has spent her last three years as a Viking sprinting, hurdling and jumping, so it’s not a far stretch to understand her interest in picking up a couple more events and turning her sights toward the multi-events in college. The heptathlon is a two-day competition in which participants contest the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and 800. Competitors are assigned points from a standardized points table based on their performance in each event. The athlete with the highest point total after the seven events is the winner.

Villalobos took visits to George Fox and Portland State and considered a couple of other schools. But she enjoyed her visit to the Newberg university. She received her acceptance letter a few weeks ago and decided that is the place where she wants to spend her next four years. Villalobos plans to study engineering.

The Vikings standout is already familiar with several of the events in the heptathlon. The high hurdles and long jump are two of her primary events. She started dabbling in the high jump last year and has run in individual sprint events and on relays.

That just leaves the javelin, shot put and 800. Villalobos is going to work with Forest Grove throws coach Bobby Larkins, she said, to start familiarizing herself with the throws before she heads to Newberg.

“I’m pretty excited, actually, especially because I’m wanting to try different events,” Villalobos noted. “Since my freshman year, I’ve kind of jumbled around events and stuff, so getting to try out new events that I haven’t is actually pretty exciting.”

She will head to George Fox as an athlete with considerable potential in the multi-events and is going to a program that should be a great place to develop it. The Bruins won four consecutive Northwest Conference titles from 2011 to 2014. They also have turned out some great athletes in the jumps and heptathlon of late.

Among them, Alexis Arnold won the NCAA Division III national title in the heptathlon in 2012. More recently, the now-graduated Charity Arn took third in the heptathlon at last year’s national championships for her second All-American honor, and junior Asia Green finished seventh in the long jump last season.

Though the multis will be her focus, Villalobos will have the chance to contest individual events as well. Her personal bests in the long and triple jumps are only a few inches outside of George Fox’s top-10 list. She could also run the low hurdles, which are 400 meters in length compared with 300 in high school.

Villalobos is a five-time state qualifier and advanced to the Class 6A state meet in each of her first three years at Forest Grove. She qualified in the long jump in 2013 and 2014, the 300 hurdles in 2014 and 2015, and the triple jump in 2015. Her best finish at Hayward Field was a sixth place in the long jump in 2014. She also won the Greater Valley Conference district title in the 300 hurdles last season.

Now she has one more spring to add to her legacy at Forest Grove — the spring sports season just began on Monday. After that ends, Villalobos will trade her maroon and gold for navy and gold.