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People I’d like the guys to be like: German Fernandez

Submitted by on Monday, 2 June 2008 No Comment

Does it make me a dork if one of my heroes right now is 17?

That would be German Fernandez, Riverbank High School’s track star/rock star and new national record holder.

German’s dilemma late last week: Whether to pull out of one of two distance events he’d qualified for in the California state high school track championships. The theory being, he had a better shot at setting a record running one race on fresh legs than if he tried to do double duty.

He ran both, and it didn’t seem to hurt him. He  won the 1,600 in a state-meet record 4 minutes, .29 seconds and the 3,200 in a national-record 8:34.23.

“”For him to do that 3,200 after his first race, just amazing,”" his coach, John Vizcaino, told The Modesto Bee. “”People were telling me it might be the best distance-double ever by a high school kid in the nation.”"

German has been amazing all year. A whopping 10,000 people cheered him Saturday — and this is in a sport that usually doesn’t draw flies.

It was the same during cross-country season, as he smashed records and drew rock-concert crowds the whole time. He didn’t lose until December, and he can be excused for that. It was a 5K race against the nation’s elite. He finished third.

Painfully shy, German’s kept his head in check even as his success has generated an international following.

He gets hundreds of letters a week, and he answers them. He has a 3.1 GPA carrying a college prep load.

And he didn’t take a lot of time to celebrate Saturday’s double win. He’s a host at Applebee’s and had to be back in time for a night shift. “”Hey, I have to make money,”" he joked.

Members on a running message board said they called  Applebee’s to congratulate German after news broke about his wins. Hope he doesn’t get fired for excessive personal calls. If you do, German, give me a call. I’d love to have a babysitter who can actually keep up with the guys.

I’m just glad I’m not German’s mom. At times, the two guys are too fast for me, and they’re not anywhere near national-record speed. And can you imagine going trick or treating with little German — he’d be two blocks over before you finished chatting with the neighbors.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.


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