SPORTS HEADLINES

Cross Country: Chasing new goals; Martinez matches talent with dedication

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, August 16, 2014

As a freshman, on talent alone, Marco Martinez qualified for the region cross country meet.

“I was just doing it to get into shape,” Martinez recalled. “My teammates said I should come out. I was just running.”

Bright Finish

BRIGHT FINISH – After a top-20 finish last year at regionals, Boyd’s Marco Martinez is gunning for a state spot in his final season. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

It wasn’t until two years later that Martinez truly started tapping into his potential and dedicating himself to the sport. With a little push from Boyd coach Oscar Hernandez, Martinez put himself on the brink of making it to state last year, finishing 19th in the 2A Region II race in 18:05.

Now as he starts his senior year, his lone mission is to make it to Round Rock and the state meet.

“That’s my goal – state, and breaking the school record,” Martinez said. “I feel I have a good shot with the rules change.”

This year, the University Interscholastic League will advance the top four teams from regionals and the top 10 individuals not on an advancing team to state.

According to Hernandez, Martinez would make school history if he qualifies for state.

“Boyd has never had a boy qualify. We’ve had several girls,” Hernandez said. “He’s got a chance. He’s good enough and has the talent to be at the state meet.”

After showing glimpses of his talent as a freshman and sophomore, Martinez said running wasn’t something he was really into until last year.

“In 11th grade, I really got into running and started practicing,” Martinez said.

Hernandez said he stayed after Martinez throughout the runner’s first two years of high school.

“He was working and also got sidetracked. But I got him out for track,” Hernandez said. “We relate to each other well. He knows I’m looking out for his best interest.”

Last fall after starting to put in the extra work, Martinez took third at district. Then after his top-20 regional performance, he came back in the spring to win the 9-2A title in the two-mile. He was second in the mile at district, qualifying for regionals in both events. His mile and two-mile times of 4:48 and 10:18 are each eight seconds off the school records.

“My confidence has gotten a lot better,” Martinez said after his success in the spring.

Over the summer, Martinez put in heavy mileage to get ready for this season. Hernandez pointed out that he never missed a workout and brought teammates and his little brother, Manny Garcia.

“He’s gotten serious about it. I’m real proud of him,” Hernandez said. “He’s also trying to show the right way to do things to his brother, who has a lot of talent.”

With his extra work, Hernandez expects Martinez to bring home the 9-3A title on the way to competing for state.

Ending the season in Round Rock would mean that Martinez met his goal. But he is quick to point out that he couldn’t get there without a lot of help.

“That would mean a lot to me. I’d be proud of myself but also for my teammates for pushing me,” Martinez said. “I’m proud of Aaron and Cameron Hammett pushing me every day.”

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