Riverbank teen runs away with track award

06/20/2008 5:12 AM

06/20/2008 5:18 AM

German Fernandez of Riverbank High School has been named the Gatorade California boys track and field athlete of the year.

The award means he's in the running to be the national boys track and field athlete of the year, which will be announced this month.

This is Fernandez's second state player-of-the-year award this season. He was the cross country runner of the year in the fall.

In 1994, Suzy Powell of Downey High was the California and national girls track and field athlete of the year after setting a national record in the discus. In 1993, Brian Wilkerson of Merced was the California boys track and field athlete of the year.

Fernandez, who recently graduated from Riverbank High and will run for Oklahoma State University next season, won two titles at last month's CIF State Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

He set a state meet record in the 1,600-meter run, winning in 4 minutes, 0.29 seconds. Later, he won the 3,200 in 8:34.23. That also was a state meet record and shattered the National Federation record of 8:41.1.

Tonight, Fernandez will compete in the 2-mile race at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. His goal is lofty.

"I'm going there for the win," Fernandez said Wednesday. "But I'm also going there to go for the national record. That's a big goal."

The 2-mile record of 8:36.3 was set by Tim Nelson of Burbank in 1979.

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

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