Anthony Molina and Gabe Armijo working pushing each other at the Loretto/ Cathedral Invite.
Story By Richard Mora
El Paso Eastwood seniors, Anthony Molina and Gabe Armijo are the two top runners in District 1-6A and are set to dual each other for the district title. The two are always within a few seconds of each other every week, that the title can easily be given to either one of them if one just has little more at the end.
Molina and Armijo were nice enough to answer some question for TX MileSplit.
TX MS - How different was it starting your season one week later than the rest of the city since the first meet was called off?
AM - At first it was really disappointing to us because we all got so excited to start our season and show all our hard work from the summer. We were devastated when we found out we couldn't run and for me personally I started to think negatively like these athletes will be more race oriented when we face them next week. Eventually I pushed those thoughts to the side and started to think positively like how we got more rest and more practice to run better. In the end it worked great because at the first race a lot of us were nervous but when we started later we were confident in our abilities.
GA - The extra rest was beneficial for us since our season is longer than most El Paso schools, it extends all the way into November. I mean the Dallas and Houston schools don't race as much and I think that plays a vital role in how they perform so well.
Molina as he paces slightly ahead of Armijo at the Del Valle Invitational.
TX MS - You guys seemed to have caught people off guard with your times at desert twilight. Do you think others are starting to take notice of you two?
AM - I'd like to think that others are starting to take notice of us but I don't really think they will because we are always left out against the bigger teams, even when we do our best. We could be having an amazing season and can still left out of the talk for meet previews and high places at bigger meets like what happened with the Desert Twilight top five prediction.
GA - Yes, it is great to start getting some attention but it is also great to give a kind of surprise to people. They just seem to look down on us just because we are from El Paso and the city has a bad reputation around the state for our courses. The courses around here are either too short or too long which affects how they evaluate our team.
TX MS - What is the motivation for you this season or the goals you have?
AM - My motivation would have to be my team. They all worked so hard and do so much I can't run as well as I do without them. As for my goals they can be my motivation as well because my team and I all have the same goals and it's what pushes us to be the best we can. Our biggest goal is to be able to qualify for Nike Nationals and every day we remind each other of that but we'd also very much like to win Eastwood's first ever state title. I think that this team is very capable of doing it and it would be a big accomplishment.
GA - For me my motivation would have to be earning a top three team finish at state because I know we have just been putting in the work for these past few years and I want to be the first team Eastwood boys' team to earn a podium finish in thirty- three years! As for motivation I'm really driven to help the team earn a spot to nationals and become the first El Paso team to ever do that. Last year when we fell short of that we were devastated and we used it to motivate us so to push to work harder. We don't want to see the same thing happen again this year.
Armijo racing towards the finish in his last 1000 meters at the Loretto/ Cathedral Invite.
AM - The only difference is our workouts are earlier in the week because our meet is on Thursday instead of Friday or Saturday but no significant change in what we have been doing. We've also decided to take an ice bath a few days before to relax our legs.
GA - Nothing is different for me, I just stick to the same routine and try not to make a big deal about the fact it is a big race. We like to keep the guys confident and less worrisome about how they perform so we try to not make a big deal out of it for the team.
TX MS - What's it like training everyday with your biggest rival for the title? Do you guys get a little competitive sometimes?
AM - I don't see him as a rival at all, I just see him as my teammate and I want him to succeed just as much as I want to succeed. If he ends up winning I won't think much of it because that just means we are that much closer to each other and that we can push each other more.
GM - Yes, we get competitive but not in a bad way, we just work together during the race and push each other until the end. At the finish it is different though and we see who can out sprint the other for the victory. At practice we work together and to be honest we all seem to forget about all the competitiveness and just run.
TX MS - Do you have any pre-race rituals, race day rituals or superstitions?
AM -Not really, I just try to remember all the hard work I've done and know that's it will show during the race. I run well not because of a superstition or race ritual but rather with my confidence in the work I have put in.
GA - I just like to wear this one pair of Nike racing socks I've had since my freshman year and I can't race without tucking in my shoe laces inside of my spikes. It bugs me when the laces are out and bouncing around.