• October 20, 2019

BOYS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Hernandez signs to run at Our Lady of the Lake - Odessa American: Sports

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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Hernandez signs to run at Our Lady of the Lake

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Posted: Friday, February 8, 2019 5:31 pm

Permian’s Sebastian Hernandez took the next step in his track and cross country career by signing his letter of intent to run at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio at a ceremony, Friday at the school’s library.

Hernandez is the first person from his family to compete at the collegiate level, making Friday’s signing even more significant for him.

“It really means a lot to me just because I am the first one in my family to actually sign over to a college to run track and cross country,” Hernandez said.

When touring Our Lady of the Lake University (which competes at the NAIA level), Hernandez said he felt welcomed right away, which helped him make his decision.

“As soon as we got to the environment, it felt great,” Hernandez said. “It was really welcoming. As soon as we got there, everyone was nice and everything. If we were lost, they would point us to the right direction and I really liked that.

“After going through the tour, it felt like God was telling me to come here,” Hernandez said. “The team brought me in and they treated me like family as soon as I got there.”

Hernandez also considered Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa and Sterling College in Sterling, Kan.

But he also chose Our Lady of the Lake University because of its close proximity to home.

“Knowing my mom, I didn’t want to leave to go very far, especially since I’m an only child,” Hernandez said. “I knew that it would be an impact on her. Also, if anything bad happened, I wouldn’t be far from home.”

The Saints cross country team is currently coming off a championship effort at the Red River Athletic Conference championships.

During track and field season, Hernandez specializes in the 800 meters and the 4x400 meter relay and plans on doing the same in college.

Hernandez’s best time in the 800 meters, so far, was a posting of two minutes and two seconds from last year’s District 2-6A Championships. His fastest time from cross country was 18:31 from his junior year during a race at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

He’s earned praise from his cross country and track coach, Hilberto Ochoa.

“As a coach, that’s one of our goals, to give the kids an opportunity to run at the next level,” Ochoa said. “When you see these guys grow and see them achieve so much on the track as well as in the classroom, it means a lot. It’s a testament to him and all the hard work that he has put in.”

Ochoa added that Hernandez’s biggest attribute is his attitude.

“He’s such a good teammate,” Ochoa said. “He’s very unselfish. He did have a few injuries but he always puts the team before himself. He’s a kid that when you call him as a coach, he’s ready to serve.”

But before Hernandez can think too much about the collegiate level, he’s got his final year of track and field, beginning Feb. 15 with the Tall City Relays in Midland.

“I’m really excited to get the new track season underway,” Hernandez said. “With all the work that we’ve been putting in, it’s been nerve-wracking because we’ve really been working hard. But we expect good things to come and our times to drop. I’m ready.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

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