Marcos Vallejo, the best middle-distance runner in Llano High School history, will have to gallop thousands of meters to wind up at his collegiate destination. He will soon sign a letter-of-intent to accept a scholarship to attend Texas Tech. Marcos will trade in his 3A designation for the Big 12.
“I’m really excited,” Marcos said before workout, Monday, January 23. He had visited Tech over the weekend. “I’m looking forward to the increased distances I’ll be running.” The translation is: 10K or 6.2 miles for cross country instead of a 5K, and, potentially, both 5K and 10K in track instead of an approximate one-mile run (1600 meters) and a two-mile challenge (3200m).
“He told me he’s found his home,” Llano’s Shaun Carter stated, “that he liked the Red Raider coaches and team. When you can run for a program like that it says a lot about his work the past six years.”
“I had motivation this year,” Vallejo mentioned. “You feel like your time is ending, and I had done well as a freshman, not as well as a sophomore and junior.”
He was no slow-poke in the middle seasons, but the pace may not have been up to Marcosian standards. He was third at state as a freshman in cross country and in the 3200-meter race at Mike Myers Stadium. He was region champion in the 1600 as a ninth grader.
2011 in cross country offered some splendid times—literally—15 minutes, five seconds, for 3.1 miles at Round Rock and one second slower in San Antonio. He would capture his fourth consecutive district championship, come in fourth in the Region IV contest and fifth at state.
Francisco Escobedo, who runs for Trinity University, saw Marcos’s Round Rock race, and claimed, “Hands down he’ll run in college; he can make it a Division I school.”
“We’re very proud of all his accomplishments,” noted athletic director David Yeager. “Tech and the Big 12; that’s a big deal.”
“I hope I do well,” said Marcos. “I know the competition will be hard.”
Carter hasn’t just stood around with a smile on his face as he checked his stopwatch after Vallejo lapped the field on the track, or when the only contest in some cross country events was whether the athlete in Black and Orange would beat the lead vehicle.
“Running is like life,” Carter observed. “It’s full of adversity; it’s not always gold medals; things don’t always go your way, and the ones who succeed keep getting back up.”
Don Hood, the head coach at Brownwood, has seen Marcos run several times including watching him win big in Llano in September. “This reflects what he has invested in the sport. He’s hungry, and that’s great to see.”