Carlos Villarreal, a 2015 Rio Rico High School alum, took home the gold medal in the men’s 1500-meter race at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Villarreal — who was born in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora and moved to Rio Rico at age 6 — finished in first place with a time of 3:39.93 for Mexico.
Several local community members quickly took to social media on Thursday afternoon to share the news with pride, also circulating a video of the 1500-meter race.
The video shows Villarreal keeping a steady pace with the rest of the group, switching between third and fourth place, as racers from the United States, Canada and Argentina lead the group.
When the bell rings, signaling the last lap of the race, Villarreal pushes through with greater force to catch up with his opponents, quickly closing the gaps in the last 100 meters and striking gold.
John Gregorek of the United States finished in second, followed by William David Paulson of Canada with times of 3:40.42 and 3:41.15, respectively.
Villarreal, currently a student at the University of Arizona, began his athletic successes while attending RRHS, where he won five individual state titles at the Division III State Championships and broke the state record for the mile with a time of 4:03.97 during his senior year.