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Spartan runner going the distance in team's title run

April 30, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

It was supposed to be a battle of two of the Imperial Valley League's best boys track and field teams, with undefeated Brawley Union High visiting undefeated Central Union High on Thursday.

Just as its done all year, Central turned the much-anticipated showdown into a laugher, dominating its IVL rival 98-49 and securing a share of the league title.

A big reason for the Spartan success Thursday and for most of the year has been its distance squad, led by 15-year-old sophomore Aaron Garcia.

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Against the Wildcats, Garcia won the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 45 seconds, the 800 meters in 2:13.38 and was a member of the 4x400-meter relay team victorious in 3:36.32.

"I didn't get any PRs (personal records) but I still won and that helped the team. And if whatever I do helps the team win. That's all that really matters to me," said Garcia. "Against Brawley I think our distance runners gave us the spark we needed."

The distance runners have been a big reason the Spartans are undefeated in IVL at 4-0. Of the distance runners, Garcia has epitomized the team's success as he has finished no lower than second in any of his events.

His performances this year have been impressive considering he was lost in the shuffle last year and was considered just another runner.

"Last year I wasn't all that great. I used to think that everyone was better than me, but all that just meant that I had to step up this year even more," said Garcia. "So far this has been a pretty good year for me and hopefully I'll be able to keep it up."

If Garcia and his teammates can keep it up for one more league meet, a matchup with Palo Verde on Thursday, the Spartans could finish the season undefeated.

"Right now we have a good mix of vets and young guys and that's a big reason we've been able to do as well as we have," said Garcia. "A lot of the younger guys have helped a lot in our winning and have been a big part of this team.

"Hopefully everyone will continue to get better as the years go on and hopefully we'll be able to win more league titles."

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