Fast Finish Sends Alvarado to State

Sjansen@mercedsunstar.comDecember 28, 2012 

CW - X Country Athletes of the Year

CHRISTOPHER WINTERFELDT/cwinterfeldt@mercedsunstar.com X Country Athlete of the Year, Senior Abraham Alvarado of Atwater High. On Friday (12-21-12) at Atwater High.

CHRISTOPHER WINTERFELDT

— Abraham Alvarado didn't want to miss on his last chance to compete at the state championships.

The Atwater senior made sure he made the trip to Fresno.

Alvarado kicked it into high gear during the final mile of the Sac-Joaquin Section championships in Folsom and earned his trip to state.

His time of 16 minutes and 15 seconds was a school record.

After a strong finish this season Alvarado is the Sun-Star Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

"I missed state by a couple seconds last year," Alvarado said. "I didn't want it to happen again. Making state has been my goal since my freshman year."

Alvarado followed his gameplan at the section meet.

After sub-sections, Alvarado spent some time in his coach Ken Rhodes' classroom. They looked at all the runners Alvarado needed to beat to earn his state bid.

"For a 5 (kilometer) race, that was my best race," Alvarado said. "I went over all the runners that finished ahead of me with my coach in his room.

"I ran in the middle of the pack. The last mile, I gave it everything I had. My whole body was tired after the race, but it was worth it."

His coach could tell he was happy.

"Last year, he just missed it," Rhodes said. "Seeing Cassidy Heckman make it on the girls side, I think that was bittersweet for him.

"He wanted to have the same opportunities as his friends in Livingston.

"Abraham is friends with all those guys. They talk to each other. The guys from Livingston would tell him, 'Hey, we want to see you there at state.' "

Rhodes also saw a different side of Alvarado this year.

"What I really liked to see was he began mentoring our younger runners," Rhodes said. "Our young guys really look up to him. In the last month of the season I really saw him reciprocate their attention.

"He went out of his way to help them. The younger guys want to be like Abraham. They want to run as fast as him."

Alvarado also set a school record with his time of 15:23 at the Buhach Colony coarse.

"He's had some good performances, but I think he's really licking his chops to get one of the track records this spring," Rhodes said. "He has an outside shot, but a realistic chance at the 1-mile or 2-mile school records."

With the records and his coveted trip to state achieved, Alvarado accomplished most of his goals this season.

"It feels nice," he said. "Leaving Atwater High knowing my name will be remembered, it feels awesome."

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