WESTERN SPRINGS – Omero Montalvo and Mateo Hernandez have trained together all year and it paid off on Friday.
Both distance runners qualified for this weekend’s state meet in Charleston after strong performances at the Class 3A Lyons Township sectional meet.
Montalvo, a senior, pulled off the distance double by winning both the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200. Hernandez, a junior, finished behind his teammate in the 1,600 and was part of the 4x800-meter relay team that was also second.
In the summer, they trained together at the Charlie Kern Championship Training Academy. They helped the Mustangs qualify for sectionals during the cross country season and have been scoring points on a regular basis for the indoor and outdoor track teams.
“We’ve been training buddies,” Montalvo said. “In practice if he leads a lap I lead the next lap so we take the lead to share the burden so we can keep pace and we keep each other fresh by doing it and we go faster in the process.”
Hernandez pushed behind Montalvo in the 1,600 for the Morton pair to both make it in the event. Montalvo had already won the 3,200 and Hernandez already ran with the 4x800 relay, but neither had tired legs in the 1,600.
“I think it helped me a lot,” Hernandez said, “because in the 500-meter mark he made his move and I know I’m just as good as him so I knew I had to make my move, too. He ran the two-mile faster than the state-qualifying standard so if he could do it just as tired or even more tired I knew I could do it.”
Montalvo qualified for state in cross country, but both runners will be making their first state appearances in track.
“It definitely boosts my confidence,” Montalvo said. “I feel strong. I feel like I have a lot in the tank left. The competition will elevate me.”
He said he wants to break the school record of 4:16 in the 1,600. He ran a personal-best 4:27.59 at the sectional.
Chris Zavala, Eli Serrato and Roman Villa ran the 4x800 with Hernandez.
Alan Casallo was Morton’s other state qualifier. Casallo was second in the pole vault.
Mendez cracks top 20
at girls state meet
Lili Mendez, the lone representative for the Morton girls track and field team at state, placed 20th in the shot put. The junior threw 36 feet, 2 inches.