Friday, Sept. 2, 2005
Starrs Mill runner seeks state glory for the team
By MICHAEL BOYLAN
Austin Enriquez discovered track as a seventh grader at Rising Starr Middle School. For him, it was just another sport to keep him occupied after the football and basketball seasons had ended. Though he gave up football the following year and has contnued playing basketball, most recently for the Starrs Mill junior varsity team, much of his time and attention are focused on cross country and track now.
Enriquez, a junior, is the top runner for the Starrs Mill cross country team. Though the team has no captains, Enriquez knows he plays a big part in the teams successes and is always attempting to make his teammates better. This involves staying with them during runs in practice and knowing who to push, when and for how long. Runners in cross country meets are awarded points based on were they finish. The closer together that a team can finish often helps the teams overall score.
In addition to the training that he does with the Starrs Mill team, Enriquez has also run for the Southside Pioneers for the last two summers.
Running with the Pioneers between my freshman and sophomore years really helped me out, Enriquez said. It was a way for me to get more miles. This past summer felt like just another season of track and Enriquez blossomed into a force on the track, placing first in both the state and region meets in both the 1,500 and 3,000 events. Nationally, he placed seventh in the 3,000 and ninth in the 1,500. In the region meet, against runners from all over the Southeast, Enriquez broke the meet record in the 1,500 with a run of 4:07.
Now that the summer is over, Enriquez has his goals set for the Panthers final cross country season in Class AAAAA. Though the team lost some good runners to graduation, Enriquez is excited about his teams chances for another region championship and a good showing at the state meet. He also feels that new coach Chad Walker has brought a different philosophy to the team and that the team is benefitting from a different practice schedule that features less days but more miles.
Coach is also a great motivator, said Enriquez. Hes the best coach Ive had.
Last year, the Panthers won the region title and Enriquez placed second in the region behind teammate Bradley Morris. This year, he wants another team title, while claiming the individual region title himself. At the 2004 state meet, the team finished 10th overall, while he took home a seventh place finish. This year, Enriquez wants a state title for both himself and his team. He would also like this season to be a springboard into another successful season next year in Class AAAA.
Enriquez has seen himself grow as both a runner and a person since being introduced to running. When he started he was an admitted hothead who often raced teammates in practice instead of training. Not only has he grown and matured physically, he has seen mental growth as well, stating, not much fazes me in a race anymore.
Enriquez hopes to continue running cross country and track in college and has just started looking at his options but he has plenty of time. For now, he just wants to focus on the next race ahead of the team and to have fun with his teammates during the season.
Copyright 2005-Fayette Publishing, Inc.