What do you get when you combine a track and field star, a Palomar College student, a dance teacher, a criminal justice major and a glowing smile?
Deyanira Lopez, that’s what.
Lopez, 20, is one of the few athletes on the Palomar track and field team. Lopez competes in most of the events but excels at the 400-meter hurdles. However, long before Lopez was running hurdles for Palomar, she was running for fun in elementary school.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Lopez said. “I was in P.E. class and we were doing this little track and field event. I was doing long jump.”
Lopez’s physical education teacher noticed her abilities and asked her if she would be interested in continuing track and field, which she was.
Palomar track and field coach Jennifer Williams praises Lopez’s work ethic and overall impact on the team.
“I think she does a great job,” Williams said. “She kind of helps lead the rest of the group to make sure they’re doing what they can.”
Williams believes that if Lopez could drop a few seconds from her times, she could have a real chance of gaining a scholarship.
Aside from her athletic ability, Lopez displays a great character. Williams said that her favorite part about having Lopez on the team is her personality.
“When you get to talk to her, she’s always smiling. She’s always upbeat,” Williams said.
Lopez has a few hobbies outside of her sport, one of which being dance. She teaches a hip-hop dance class every Thursday, where she currently has girls anywhere from 6 to 19 years old.
“I’ve been dancing since I was 2. I love dance,” Lopez said.
Lopez currently studies criminal justice and she aspires to have a career in the field. Growing up, Lopez remembers hardships that she witnessed while she was a child. Experiencing those instances sparked her interest in criminal justice.
“I’m trying to go into a department where I can help kids,” Lopez said. “Plus I could get to run after people, so I could use my track skills.”
For now, Lopez looks to finish her track and field season on a strong note. Regardless of the outcome, Lopez has an eventual future ahead of her. Whether it’s on the field, on the dance floor, or working in law enforcement, Lopez will be working with a smile on her face.