The heart of a champion
Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
He was nearly unbeatable all season, so it should not have been a huge shock that T.R. Miller Tigers senior Antonio Gomez won four events at last weekend's Class 3A state track meet.
Gomez rose to the top of the pack in the long jump at 22-8, the triple jump at 43-7 and the 100 meter high hurdles at 15.42. Gomez's most impressive effort came in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles with a new state record time of 39.65.
Gomez's feat would be impressive under normal circumstances, but it is almost mind-boggling considering just over a year ago he underwent surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Gomez was already an established track star when he tore the ACL during his junior football season. He won the outdoor state titles in the 110 meter high hurdles and triple jump as a freshman and as a sophomore. In fact, Gomez broke the state record in the 110 high hurdles as a sophomore with a time of 14.6.
Gomez's comeback has amazed T.R. Miller coach Eddie Brundidge.
The contribution Brundidge referred to has been T.R. Miller's most valuable weapon.
Gomez felt the pressure to succeed from a team standpoint going into the state meet.
The event in which Gomez has made his biggest impact, the hurdles, is one he was lured into by accident.
Gomez's state record performance in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles last weekend was a little unexpected.
Tucker Frazier of St. Paul's set the mark of 39.66 in 1996. Gomez had not run the 300 hurdles below 40 seconds all season.
It turned out Gomez's best competition came from teammate Briddell Jones, who was second to Gomez in both hurdles races at the state meet.
Gomez uses a three-step technique as compared to a five-step technique some hurdlers do.
Of the two state records he holds, Gomez said he treasures the 110 meter high hurdles mark the most.
Gomez has not decided whether or not last weekend's state meet will be his last athletic competition.