German Fernandez is taking a short break from the high school track and field season.
This week, the Riverbank High senior is in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he'll represent the United States in the World Junior Cross Country Championships.
"It should be a really good time," Fernandez said last week. "I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also a little nervous.
"It'll be my first time in (Europe), and even though I'll be there with my teammates from Team USA, I'll be pretty much alone."
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It's the next big step in Fernandez's career. He's been running in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter races for track and field, but in Scotland he'll do 8-kilometers (4.96 miles), which is most likely the same distance he'll run for Oklahoma State next year.
He'll run on Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Scotland time. California is eight hours behind Edinburgh, so we'll be finding out where German finished right around sunrise Sunday.
While Fernandez is one of the fastest junior runners from America, he's got a lot of history and tradition to run down if he wants to win. A runner from Ethiopia or Kenya has won the junior race every year since 1982. Africans have dominated the senior world championship race -- also this weekend in Edinburgh -- as well.
"I'm told cross country in Europe has a lot more hills than here," Fernandez said. "Mainly I'm looking forward to running my race and meeting some of the world's top distance runners. It's just a nice honor to even make it there."
No word if he's going to try the haggis.
THE state's top track and field Web site, www.dyestatcal.com, released its first state leaders of the season, and several Stanislaus District athletes are among the top 10 in their events.
Riverbank's Fernandez owns the top time in the 3,200-meter run. His blazing race of 8:53.6 at the TVL/WAC Challenge in Patterson is 15 seconds faster than the No. 2 time. What makes that time even more impressive is it was his third race of the day.
Fernandez also has the seventh-fastest 800 time (1:56.46). Not too bad for a distance runner.
Downey's Robert Cash had a wind-legal triple jump of 43 feet at the Skyline Invitational at the beginning of the month. That's good for fifth-best in the state. And Delhi's Rashee Dean has the third-best long jump (23-3) and second-best triple jump (48-7), although both marks were wind-aided.
The only local girls leaders are in the discus and shot put.
Beyer senior Kendall Morris has the third-best discus throw in the state -- 143-9 at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational last weekend. There's a 16-foot gap between Morris and the No. 2 mark, but she's still placed herself firmly among the state medal contenders should she keep it up.
And Buhach Colony senior Rachel Hammar has top-10 marks in both the shot put and discus.
Hammar threw the shot 42 feet, 3 inches at a dual meet two weeks ago. That mark is good for No. 3 in the state, three feet behind the top mark.
And she heaved the discus 130-11 at the Sierra Invitational on March 8. That mark is the ninth-best discus throw in California this season.
YES, you might have seen a familiar slogan on the Davis High baseball field's fence in a picture that ran in Tuesday's Bee.
In the left-center gap, the wall has print that says, "Tell It Goodbye," and in right-center, it just says, "GAP."
San Francisco Giants fans may remember those slogans from when the Giants played at Candlestick Park. And according to Davis baseball coach Kevin Ruiz, that's because the fence is from Candlestick.
"The Giants donated the fence about eight years ago," Ruiz said. "Actually, if you get close to it, you'll see it's pretty weathered and beat up. We're trying to raise funds to replace the fence. It's about that time."
While Davis High school officials confirmed this was indeed the old Candlestick Park fence, they didn't know the story behind its arrival. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's not going to stop me from finding out the answer. Rest assured, folks, I'm on the case!
Will DeBoard's high schools column appears Thursdays. E-mail him at email@example.com, write him at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352-5256, call 578-2300 or fax 238-4551.