Perez leads the way for area runners
Posted by : August 24, 2014| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP-Kemp senior Jesus Perez proved himself as one of the premier long distance runners in the Cedar Creek Lake area last year.
“JP,” as he is affectionately called by peers and coaches, consistently topped the leaderboards with the best times, even beating out individual runners at cross country powerhouse Eustace.
Perez won a close district race before having some knee problems and running what he calls a “poor regional race,” finishing seventh with a time of 17:13:80. The finish was good enough to qualify him for the state meet, which is the race Perez was saving his energy for to be in top form.
“I was feeling very horrible in the regional race,” Perez said. “So I made the decision to just hold onto my position in regional and just place for the state meet.”
He ran an “amazing race” at state, finishing with a 16:42 clip, good enough for 10th place.
Perez has been working hard to improve his times and gain a place on a university cross country team. He credits the techniques and advice given to him at Baylor and University of Dallas summer camps for improving his times.
“I’m surpassing what I did last year by far,” he said. “I’m already running better because of my increased mileage and better training.”
Perez sites sleep, nutrition, stretching and workouts among the most important things for a long distance athlete. “You don’t want to just be ready for the first race,” he said. “You want to be ready for the last race.”
To get ready for the last race, Perez begins his training with a base mileage, gradually increasing it as the months roll on, adding hills about a month into the season and eventually starts sprinting to be at his peak for the state tournament in November.
Perez hopes to attend a Division 1 university after his days at Kemp are done. “I’m talking with some schools and trying to get in,” he said. The frontrunner for his college picks is Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. “It’s a great running school,” he added.
Perez is confident in himself individually, but also believes in his team.
“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people in the new district,” he said. “We will have a good chance to win it.”