Before the class of 2020 makes their final farewells to high school cross country and track and field, we want to give everyone a chance to salute them one more time. Here is how you can salute you seniors.
1. It's been a while since we've been able to talk since the pandemic hit and there are so many
interesting things to discuss! First off, you're going to your dream school. Fall season 2020 you'll be running on sacred ground at the University of Oregon. Tell us about your process that you went through when deciding which school to pick. Were there any other colleges on your radar?
It was a difficult process because I met some amazing people during my visits and great coaches and programs who recruited me. I let my faith help make my decision not just my heart. There were some amazing university's who recruited me along the way and they all had so much to offer and I cherished each of the visits and conversations with the coaches throughout the process. In making my final decision it was not easy but I felt Oregon is the right place for me. Coach Thomas is an amazing Coach and I can't wait to be apart of a storied program.
2. You've had such an incredible career at Hanks HS and it's finally come to an end. How do you feel
that your 4 years there really prepared you for collegiate running?
I feel that Coach Gomez and the rest of the coaches at Hanks always pushed me to be the best not just on the track, but also off of it. Coach Gomez was like my second Mother away from home she looked out for me, and she challenged me to be the best I could be not just as a runner but as a student and young man. I am honored to have been a Hanks Knight and represent my community.
3. You recently cracked our top 50 All-Time list for distance runners in Texas. How did you feel to see
your name on that list amongst some of the greatest to ever do it?
It is very humbling to even be mentioned with the names of some of the greats in El Paso let alone the best in the state. While it's an honor to be on that list , I know there is too much ahead of me and I'll leave the list for everyone to debate. I just feel blessed to have been able to have great coaches and people around me who always believed in me.
4. You've put on some stellar performances throughout the years, sometimes making nationals headlines. What was your favorite performance that you feel really encapsulates your running career?
This one is difficult because one is individual and one is team related. My individual performance was state my sophomore year when I qualified in the 3 distance races. I won the 800 and finished second in the 1600 and 3200 behind Graydon Morris. I was so exhausted that day, but truly blessed to have the opportunity to compete. My team accomplishment was after XC regionals knowing our team was going to state after 30 plus years. I wanted my teammates to experience going to state and we all did a tremendous job finishing 4th overall. I was extremely proud and its amount I will never forget.
5. Thinking back of what some of your goals may have been in HS, how would you compare them
to how you look at seeing future goals in college? And what would those new goals be?
My goals in HS were to compete at a high level and work hard to be the best. I feel if you have the work ethic and drive you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. College will be the most difficult one yet and I will approach college like I do every day and that is to be the best daily as both a runner and as a young man. I think like every athlete going to college, you want to win and I would love to win, but practice and hard work come first.
6. More often than not we only get to see the glamour of top runner after a race but we don't get to see or hear much of the struggles you all go through on a daily basis. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced? And what techniques did you do to overcome them?
Well, having two eye surgeries in the middle of my freshmen track season and start of my sophomore XC season was huge but, the biggest was not a physical challenge but mental one my junior season. I got to a point in the year that I started pressing maybe to impress coaches who were recruiting me. I had to get back to running for the love of the sport and everything else would fall in place and I was blessed that it did. My advice for others is you have to have passion and a true love for what you do because you have to love the downs more than the ups!
7. What's one thing you will take with you to college that you learned being a HS runner and what
advice would you give future runners who want to achieve similar goals?
I learned if you are truly willing to work to accomplish what you want out of life you can do it, don't ever let anyone tell you it's impossible. My faith, my family, my coaches, and my friends have helped me every step of the way. My advice to future runners especially from El Paso is follow your dreams and goals but make sure your work ethic matches those goals as well as surround yourselves with people who support your goals, It won't be accomplished without it.
Abeyta Sr. Questions:
1. You've seen your son run all over the state against some top level competition. What do you
think sets Michael apart from all the rest?
Michael has an humble tenacity and a true love for the sport. Michael stays grounded and cherishes the hard work that it takes to get better, if he gets challenged he works even harder to keep improving.
2. There's no doubt that he's such a fun runner to watch compete. For you, what was the favorite
part of seeing him throughout this whole process of becoming one of El Paso's top runners?
The best part of seeing him grow and mature was continuing to love the sport, you have to sincerely love doing the sport not just when you win , but when you deal with adversity and set backs it what truly defines your character. It was also great to have him sign with the Oregon; he has dreamed of running there since he was a little boy and come this fall he will get his opportunity. It's a blessing to be apart of this journey with him along with all our family and friends and nothing happens with out GOD's Blessings.