TLCA's Romero Set to Make History at State Meet
SAN ANGELO, TX -- One area athlete will make history when he competes at the UIL state track meet next week.
TLCA senior Orlando Romero will be the first male athlete to compete at state, and just the second athlete from the school to compete at the meet when he runs the 800-meter on May 10. The last to compete was GinnieMarie Lee in 2013, who would go on to place third in triple jump.
The opportunity to compete at this high of a level is something the West Texas A&M-bound senior relishes, especially after dealing with injuries during the 2018 season.
“It means everything to me,” he said, “Just coming back from last season -- I wasn’t healthy. So, to come back and be the first male to go to state really means something to me.”
Romero’s road to Austin hasn’t necessarily been easy as far as training goes. TLCA does not have a track, so they have to use Lake View High School’s. When they don’t use the track, they practice on grass.
But coaching has been one of the biggest helps for Romero this season. Former Angelo State and West Texas A&M track star Dylan Doss joined TLCA as a coach this year and athletic director Brent Rider let the track kids work out earlier than they had in years past.
Doss is currently running time trials to qualify for the Olympics. His help has led to Romero dropping his 800-meter time to a personal record of 1 minute, 59.72 seconds which won the Class 3A Region I meet.
“All of our coaches have been working together. This is great for the school,” head track coach Harold Sowa said. “The school’s excited. It’s just been an awesome thing.”
After coming across the finish line first at Abilene Christian University on April 27, Romero didn’t immediately realize he won and was going to state. “I was dead and tired from it. So it took me a little bit to recover,” Romero joked.
In his freshman year, Romero was running a time in the high two minutes and Sowa had imagined him running on two relays for TLCA. But Romero wanted to run the 800 and he wanted to run in college. So, he told his coach he could get his time down.
Romero hoped to run a 1:57, but a bad start and a stiff head wind made that time tough to get for the senior.
Heading into the state meet, Romero is not wavering from that goal. That time would be good enough to challenge for the individual state title.
“It’d mean everything to me. It’d blow my mind if I ran a 1:57,” Romero said. “I’ve just gotta work hard every day.”
Through the halls of TLCA, Romero has felt the love from his classmates.
“It’s been pretty great since I’ve made it to state,” he said. “Everybody’s been telling me ‘good luck’ and congratulating me for that.”
The state track meet is set for May 10 and 11 at the Mike Myers Track Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas. The Concho Valley will have a total of 57 athletes competing at the meet.
Recommended for You
Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily newsletter, The LIVE! Daily.