STANTON — The Texas High School Track and Field Meet is one high-stakes event, but Adam Montez just may be pressure-proof.
After all, the Stanton High School senior has already thrived under one of the most pressure-packed situations a track and field runner can find himself in.
At last week's Region I-2A track meet in Odessa, a false start disqualified Montez from the 400-meter run final, meaning he went into the 800-meter run facing his last chance to qualify for the state meet.
No pressure, right?
“I was pretty upset,” Montez conceded. “I wasn't expecting to qualify for the state meet in the 800, so when I false-started in the 400, I knew I had my work cut out for me.”
As the 800-meter final unfolded, Montez found himself boxed in by other runners and was in real danger of losing contact with the leaders as the race entered the backstretch.
That, he admitted, was when he began feeling some pressure.
“Coming into the last 200 meters, they had me boxed in, so I got kind of scared,” Montez said. “That's when (Frank Baca of Muleshoe) took off sprinting, so I took off after him.”
It was in those final few moments that Montez really shined. First, he cleared himself from the pack, then passed Baca in the final few meters to win the event in a time of 1 minute, 58.05 seconds, earning a trip to the state track meet May 12-13 in Austin.
This will be his second straight trip to the state meet, having qualified in the 400-meter run in 2010.
Having watched Montez excel for the past two years, SHS Coach Danny Arista is not surprised he would thrive in such high-stake situations.
“I just wish I had more like him,” Arista said. “We moved up in classification from 1A to 2A this year, so he had to work that much harder to succeed. He didn't whine, he didn't complain, he just did what he had to do.”
As Montez eyes the state meet, he is concerned more with his time than anything else, he said.
“My goal is to finish the race in 1:56,” he said. “If I can do that, I think that'll be good enough.”