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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: Permian's Garcia speeding things up on the track - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: Permian's Garcia speeding things up on the track

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Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2019 7:16 pm

Three meets into this year’s track and field season and Permian’s Josh Garcia has yet to lose in the 3,200 meter run.

The junior long-distance standout continued his dominating start to the 2019 season with his first-place finish at the West Texas Relays Friday at Ratliff Stadium.

Garcia clocked in a time of nine minutes, 54.5 seconds, even lapping a few runners in the process.

Not only was it another victory for Garcia, it was also his personal record for this season at the distance.

He knows the best is yet to come, too.

“I think I can grow from it,” Garcia said. “I need to keep the pace from the first mile into the second mile but that’s something that I still have time to improve on. There’s still time until the championship portion of the season starts.”

Conditions during Friday’s race were helpful as the wind stayed calm while the temperatures hovered in the 70s.

“This is my best run so far this year,” Garcia said. “The last two meets have been really windy. The conditions weren’t so great. But today, the conditions were awesome.”

Not only were the conditions in his favor as Garcia said his team was coming off a strong week of practice.

“I think what contributed to it was that we had a good week of preparation,” Garcia said. “We didn’t kill our legs too much. We did a lot of great workouts leading up to this meet.”

The result also allowed Garcia to defend the 3,200-meter crown at the event.

“It feels great,” Garcia said. “I won the two-mile race last year so now it’s great to be able to win two years in a row in front of our home fans. It’s a good experience and a good feeling.

“I haven’t lost in the two-mile so that’s my main event that I focus on. It feels pretty good to have that confidence to carry that into the next race.”

Permian distance coach Hilberto Ochoa said that one of the things that has helped Garcia this year has been his endurance as well as his ability to remain healthy.

“I think he’s done a good job of sticking to the training plan,” Ochoa said. “Of course, he’s also done a good job of taking care of himself and staying healthy.

“He’s been taking it to that next level in nutrition and so forth. It’s just a matter of him getting better and better.

“We haven’t had rain conditions so far this season so that’s made it even better to run in. His goal today was to break 10 and he did so we’re happy about that. His time will continue to drop throughout the year.”

Ochoa also added that Garcia’s first mile has improved over the season.

“His first mile is getting stronger. I think he was about 4:45 for the first mile so that’s good,” Ochoa said. “We just need to work on that second mile that he’s running and that’ll go down to more speed work and the intensity that we start doing in what we call phase four after spring break. He’s running mature. He’s running with more confidence than he did last year.”

All of which could help Garcia qualify for the state meet in Austin after missing out last year.

“He just needs to continue to win and improve that time,” Ochoa said. “His goal is to break 9:30 this year by the time district and area come. In order to run at the regional meet in April, he’s got to be around 9:15.”

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

Odessa, TX

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