LAMPASAS—They were important strides to a Double Dash to Destiny. If the legendary 1920s’ football player, Red Grange, would just loan us his nickname for one paragraph, Marcos Vallejo looked like the Galloping Ghost through the cozy feel of near darkness on a stadium track on the Badger campus.
The Llano High senior was putting on another one-man show as he raced away from the field to capture the 3200-meter run in the 25-AAA Meet, April 11, and was called back for a “Held Over” performance in the 1600 the following night. Fans may have been upset to have to sit through the same plot with the same leading actor, but the drama—uh, no drama—took half as long.
“This is definitely the best I’ve felt all year,” Marcos said after the 16, “and the wind was tough.” But still no formidable foe. Vallejo’s time was four minutes, 23 seconds—a fraction off his own school record. His batting average is 11-for-11 in races in 2012—losing only to Class 4As and 5As in a memorable effort in the prestigious Texas Relays last month.
Listen to this: Vallejo, 2008-2011, won all four district titles in cross country, and he leaves LHS with at least one gold medal each spring in district track. Call it the Elite Eight.
“He’s extremely impressive,” declared Taylor head coach, Shelli Cobb. “Usually a runner fades as the race progresses, but he gets stronger and stronger.”
“Today was the race of his life,” exclaimed the Jackets’ mentor, Shaun Carter. He was referring to the 9:33 in the 3200 meters. That’s his best time in a couple of years. “This gives him momentum for region and state.”
The Region IV Meet is April 27-28 in Corpus Christi. The top two from each event there qualify for the state championships, May 11-12, in Austin.
“I didn’t expect to run that fast,” Vallejo noted, concerning the 32. “I felt really good in front; I was relaxed and calm; I went for it after the first mile.” He covered the second half the race in 4:40.
“He’s so fast,” claimed Jada Kornegay of Salado. “We knew we couldn’t pass him in the 3200; it’s so hard to consider staying with him.”
Taylor runner, Josh Villarreal, mentioned that the group was together for two laps, “then he took off! I give him state!” Well, not just yet.
Alex Cooke of Salado was runner-up to Marcos in the 16. “He’s outstanding and modest. There’s nothing flashy, but he does everything right.”
“I’m ending my senior year well,” the future Texas Tech runner stated with pride. He thinks he’ll do well in the next two meets, “as long as nerves don’t get to me.”
Gliding around the Lampasas track eight times one night and four the next—with two legs resembling four from a Thoroughbred attacking the final furlong—he looked about as nervous as Eli Manning or Kevin Durant.
“I want to know that others at region are aiming for me,” Marcos contended. “I know I have posted good times.”
“He runs a mile like he’s running a quarter mile,” coach Cobb of Taylor insisted. “He’s blessed with great talent.”