I remember going to the Texas State Meet in 1986 with my friend Frank Arriola (El Paso Bel Air) who was competing in the 1600. I went to support Frank and also as a Track fan to watch the great Reuben Reina (San Antonio Jay) go for his 3rd straight 3200/1600 Championship. I watched Reina run an 8:58 to beat Eric Henry (McCullough/The Woodlands) and a 4:09 to beat John Holmes (South Houston). I thought it was the most amazing double. I was in awe. So to see German Fernandez double a 4:00/8:34 1600/3200 a couple weeks back just leaves me at a loss for words. He beat an 8:58 by almost 200 meters!!!!! Think about it.
Speaking of Texas runners we need to give our due to Colby Lowe. He ran an 8:47 for the All-time Texas #1. Nobody has stood out from Texas to the extent of Lowe since Reina. Lowe has left his mark all over the state.
Let the debate begin. Reina or Lowe? This old-timer will go with Reuben. Colby ran slightly faster times but Reuben had a kick for the ages. He didn't always have to run from the front. Reina faced great competition in Texas from the likes of Tim Gargiulo, John Holmes, and Eric Henry. He also dominated on a National level against guys like John Trautmann (NY) and the Mastalir Twins (CA). Reuben also won the Footlocker XC Nationals (then known as Kinney) in a Course Record time that stands to this day. That's right. This years crop (Fout, Derrick, Fernandez, Lowe, Puskedra, Cabral, etc) fell short as have many great XC runners over the years at San Diego's Balboa Park.
What will the future bring for Lowe? A memorable career I'm sure. Will he attain the same success as Reuben Reina/Alan Culpepper (both NCAA Champions, USATF National XC Champs and both Olympians)? I'm not sure. I do know watching him and German at the same school as Freshman should provide much discussion. Just wait for the discussion of Lowe Vs. Reina Vs Bobby Aguirre (El Paso Riverside) in XC. Never heard of Aguirre? You will soon.
I dug up an old picture I took at the 1986 State Meet of Reina sitting comfortably behind Eric Henry with Augie Flores (San Antonio Burbank) before making his move.