Riverbank's Fernandez will make run at record

June 11, 2008 

AM SOS OAA Fernandez

German Fernandez (Adrian Mendoza / The Modesto Bee)

It appears that German Fernandez is going to run one more time before shutting it down for the season.

The Riverbank High sensation will attempt to break the national record in the 2-mile race at the Nike Outdoor National Championships June 19-21 in Greensboro, N.C.

"Then that's it," said his coach, Bruce Edwards. "That's plenty of racing."

It'll close out a historic high school season for Fernandez. He was the nation's fastest in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, then closed out the California season with victories in both races at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

Fernandez won the 1,600 in 4:00.29, then followed that up with a national record 8:34.23 in the 3,200. He was named the USA Track and Field athlete of the week.

Next weekend, he'll try for another national record. The two-mile mark is currently 8:36.3, set in 1979 by Burbank's Jeff Nelson. Fernandez ran his 8:34.23 -- a distance that's slightly less than two miles -- on the heels of his 1,600-meter run. But it looks like he'll compete only in the two-mile in Greensboro.

"That's all we've agreed to do at this point," Edwards said.

While there has been speculation that Fernandez will also run the mile race in an attempt to go below 4 minutes, Edwards said it probably won't happen.

"The mile's the next day, but they don't allow the guys running in two events to compete in the fast heat in the second race," he said. "But you never know. If German really wants to go for it, he may run."

In his state meet runs two weeks ago, Fernandez nearly had some shoe issues. His spikes were considered too sharp to run on Cerritos' Mondo track. But his spikes were also bolted into his shoes and couldn't be removed.

"So I was walking around, wondering what we were going to do," Edwards said.

And he saw a jeweler in a shopping center near his hotel.

"I knew they had the equipment to grind down his spikes, and they did, for $20," Edwards said. "We got back, I had to file a couple of points, and German was ready to go."

And go he did.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

An account has been set up to help defray Fernandez and his coaches' travel costs to North Carolina. Checks may be dropped off at Riverbank High School.

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