By John Philip Wyllie
After turning in an impressive freshman season three years ago, it appeared as if Montgomery High’s Hector Madueno was going to develop into one of the best long distance runners in the school’s recent history. Then the injury bug bit him hard and shortened his otherwise promising sophomore and junior years. Not one to give up easily, Madueno is back this season as a senior. While his knees are still not 100%, he hopes that by season’s end he can put his injury problems behind him and run well enough to capture the attention of some collegiate coaches.
“Right now, I am trying to reach a 4:40 mile, break 2:00 in the 440 and if I run the 4x4 I will try to run a .52 or .53.” Madueno said. “I am still having problems with my knees, but my (physical) therapist thinks they are getting better.”
Madueno had some special motivation when he took up running as a freshman.
“I was influenced by my cousin who also ran for Montgomery. His brothers were (at the time) running for Sweetwater. We had a little competition going and I started training harder and harder each year. I really improved and I dropped three minutes off of my time in cross country.” Now that his cousins have graduated, Madueno has had to look elsewhere fro his motivation.
“I enjoy the training and the discipline (that track requires). The feeling that you are out there competing and giving it your all keeps you going each season. I would like to continue running next year at a college or university. I applied to Cal-State San Marcos and I have heard that they have a very good team. I’m not one of (Montgomery’s) best students, but my grades are there. I was already accepted at SDSU, but they don’t have a track or cross country team for men so I am hoping San Marcos will have something for me.”
Madueno, who was born in Tijuana, would like to one day compete in Mexico. So far, conflicts with his cross country and track seasons have prevented him from doing so. “It would be interesting to see how they train down there,” Madueno said. Of his many Mexican role models, former Olympian Arturo Barrios is the one Madueno most admires.
“He holds a race each year in Chula Vista. This year I ran in it and took first place. (Barrios) is a good Christian and a good coach and somebody that I really admire,” Madueno said.
Ruben Ledesma, the track coach at Montgomery, has seen Madueno’s successes and struggles.
“He was an all-league runner as a sophomore and eighth overall (in the county). He has been our top guy for the last four years, but now with his injury problems, it is kind of hard on him. He’s been a leader for us and a captain for the last three years. I can always depend on him to take care of things when I can’t be there. His frustration right now is that he is not running as well as he could. My hope is that he will be peaking at the end of the year.”