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Blue Devil track stars are ready for state finals in Austin

May 4th, 2017 under Top Stories
(Staff photo by CAMERON DODD) Presidio High School senior Jesse Ortiz runs laps at the Presidio track on Tuesday. Ortiz and teammate Oscar Baeza will compete at the state UIL track meet in Austin next weekend.

(Staff photo by CAMERON DODD)
Presidio High School senior Jesse Ortiz runs laps at the Presidio track on Tuesday. Ortiz and teammate Oscar Baeza will compete at the state UIL track meet in Austin next weekend.

By CAMERON DODD

cameron@bigbendnow.com

PRESIDIO — Two record-setting Presidio varsity runners are heading to the state UIL track finals in Austin next weekend. Senior runners Jesse Ortiz and Oscar Baeza each qualified to compete at state in multiple events during last weekend’s regional meet in Abilene.

Sprinter Oscar Baeza won first place at the regional finals in two events. He took gold in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.88 and in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.20. He also won first place in the long jump with a distance of 22’7”.

Baeza is the first Presidio track athlete to qualify for state in three separate events. He is also the first sprinter from Presidio to qualify for state in 20 years. The last was Sabina Lozano in 1997.

Distance runner Jesse Ortiz has qualified for a state for his third year in a row, another first for a Presidio athlete. Ortiz placed second at regionals in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:54.39. Jesse also competed in the 1,600-meter at regionals and came in third with a time of 4:36.41.

Presidio’s boys track team as a whole finished fifth of 18 teams at the regional meet.

Presidio’s 4×100-meter relay team also competed at regionals. They came in eighth place. The team consisted of Erik Montoya, Oscar Baeza, Endrick Reynoso, Oscar Moreno and Luis Manriquez.

On a hot afternoon in Presidio, Ortiz and Baeza trained on the Presidio track. Ortiz ran laps, alternating between high and low speeds every minute. Baeza practiced sprints, running 200 meters in less than 25 seconds.

Neither of the young runners were nervous, they said. And their confidence is justified. This is Ortiz’s third shot a state title. Last year he ran in the 3,200-meter and the 1,600-meter, coming in fifth and eighth in the respective races. But this year he is good shape to win a medal. After winning second in the region, his state qualifying time in the 3,200-meter run was 9:54.25. This makes him rank fifth in the state but is within 35 milliseconds of the current third-in-state runner.

Competition in Baeza’s sprints is tighter, but he is first in Presidio’s region. He ran a 10.88 100-meter dash to qualify for state. But Baeza has run previously run a 100 meter in 10.51, a millisecond faster than the currently highest ranked runner in the state.

The two runners are seniors and will be graduating from Presidio High School this year. They both have multiple college offers and are still considering their future plans.

Jesse Ortiz will run in the 3,200-meter at the state meet at the University of Texas at Austin Mike Myers Track Complex on Friday, May 12 at 9:40 a.m..

Oscar will long jump on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m. He will run the 100-meter dash at 1:05 p.m. and the 200-meter dash at 2:25 p.m.

“Both Oscar and Jesse will have a great shot of getting a medal at state,” Presidio track coach Alonzo Samaniego said.

Before the boys hit the road to state on Thursday, the high school will send them off with an event at the high school gymnasium.

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