Of the hundreds of 2A cross country runners, only three can say they faster than Louise Hornets sophomore Antonio Martinez.
The Louise sophomore finished with a time of 16:29.20, securing him fourth-place at the state meet Tuesday at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.
“The hard work paid off,” Martinez said. “It wasn’t the race I wanted. I was shooting for first place, but I had a little bit of an injury and I didn’t stretch well.”
The run was not his fastest of the season missing his personal best by two-tenths of a second, but it was enough to give him a top-five finish. Martinez was the only sophomore in the top-five.
At the start of the race, his legs felt a little bit off he said and he wasn’t able to get out in front.
Over the second mile, Martinez picked up his pace, moving past runners to get back in the front of the pack.
“In the beginning of the race, I was like top-25,” Martinez said. “I think if I caught up with those guys up front (earlier) I could have (beat) them. I just had to make up so much ground it was just too hard and there was too much traffic.”
The conditions for Martinez weren’t ideal.
Before the race it had rained so the course was a little slick. Wind gusts made it hard to keep traction throughout the course Tuesday.
Martinez had run the same course last year but said, everything looked different to him.
“Still a good finish for a bad race,” Martinez said. “It’s still exciting and I’m happy for what I got.”
The course at Old Settler’s Park has hills and turns so tight and sharp they needed to be walked around, Martinez said.
With the obstacles, Martinez cut nearly one and a half minutes off his state-run from last season.
The sophomore’s run is the quickest for the Hornets in the last decade.
Martinez beat out Jacob Seabolt’s time of 17:12.31 when he was a senior in 2013 winning 13th place when Louise was a 1A school.
“For as long as I have been at Louise, and when I have looked back in the past before my tenure, Tony has been the highest finishing runner we have had,” coach Marja Lutringer said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that his hard work, dedication and confidence got him to where he is at. He has developed a rapport with others runners and has been respected by all. He not only represents Louise, he and his district competitors represented the region very well. (Tony has) lots of respect within the cross country community.”
Martinez will now turn his full attention towards track season in the spring where he competes in the 1,600-meter and the 3,200-meter run.
Last year, the UIL canceled the season due to COVID concerns.