Luke Arella

Luke Arella stood out at all-comer meets with his bright neon yellow track clothes.

Lukas Arella was always easy to hear at a track and field meet when he attended Half Moon Bay High School.

He was the one screaming for joy after setting a personal best. He set more than 50 in one season for the Cougars.

It didn't matter the race, or that he finished last. He made it a point to have a good time at a track meet, and let everyone know how much fun he was having.

Having just completed his sophomore year at Lewis & Clark College, Arella is still running track, setting personal bests and having fun.

Over the summer, Arella kept running at all-comer meets at Los Gatos High School. The 20-year-old ran four races, including the 100 meters.

Moments after finishing a race, Arella went to the finish area, checking his time. One night, he set a personal best in the 100, finishing in 12.24 seconds. The time is nothing close to that of his favorite athlete, defending Olympic and World champion, Usain Bolt. Arella celebrated the result in a way even Bolt would have loved.

Arella first let out his traditional "woo-hoo," then ran to his friends. He traded high-fives with everyone there, as well as total strangers.

"I set a personal best wearing my neon shoes and orange socks," Arella said. "I get a personal best in something every time I wear those shoes and socks."

People can't help but drift over to see the enthusiasm. He gets just as excited when a friend or rival gets a personal best or runs a good race.

"I just love the sport," Arella said. "One of my goals is to be a high school track coach some day."

He got his start this summer, working with a group of kids in Los Altos.

Arella's love and passion for the sport is as noticeable as the bright yellow neon shirt, shorts, shoes and headband that he wears.

"I have met a lot of great people in track," Arella said.

He has participated in various events for the Pioneers. He participated in four individual events in his freshman year, the 100 and 200 as well as the triple jump and javelin. He dropped the 100 and triple jump last year, focusing on the other two events plus the 400.

For the coming season, he will be working on just the 200 and javelin.

Arella puts in lots of work in practice. He knows those personal records don't just happen.

"This is one of the few sports where if something goes wrong, you have no one but yourself to blame," Arella said. "My goal is just to keep on improving myself."

The hard work has paid off.

"I have gone from being the slowest person to in the bottom third of slow people," Arella said. "I love to keep things positive."

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