By John Philip Wyllie
Having led his Bonita Vista Barons to the 2004 Mesa League Track & Field Championship and survived last weekend’s CIF Preliminaries, Bersain Gutierrez is hoping to extend his season by an additional two weeks. Gutierrez has been a jack-of-all- trades this season for the Barons competing in the long jump, high jump, 100 and 300 meter hurdles, 200 and 400 meter dash and the 4x 100 and 4x400 meter relay teams. His versatility has made him a key figure for the Barons. The next two weeks will determine whether Gutierrez will call 2004 a very good year or a great one.
Having claimed the league championship in the 4x100 and the 4x400 mile relays, Gutierrez will compete this weekend in the CIF Finals at Poway High. Should he excel there, Gutierrez and his relay team members could be off to the state meet next weekend. He believes his best opportunity to gain a coveted invitation to that meet will be as member of BV’s vaunted 4x400 mile relay team. Having come up with his season best time last weekend circling the track in a shade over 49 seconds, Gutierrez seems primed for the challenge.
“This year I would love to qualify for the state finals in the 300 meter low hurdles, but that is kind of iffy. I think our 4 x 400 relay team has a great chance to qualify. I want to help those seniors make it to the state finals.” As the lone junior on the four-man team, Gutierrez will of course have another shot next year. That won’t stop him from running like there is no tomorrow however, just like he has all year long.
“Bersain has incredible mental toughness and he is a top competitor,” said BV Track head coach Melanie Holmes. “When I need to get some points in a meet or when I need somebody to win a race Bersain is my go-to guy.”
While Gutierrez considers himself primarily a middle distance runner specializing in the 400, he doesn’t mind doing whatever he can to help the team.
“I’ve been jumping back and forth between events a lot this year because they have needed me everywhere, but I always run at least one 400 (meter) event per meet.”
Gutierrez believes that running is in his blood.
“My mom and dad have told me that the people in our family have always had the ability to run. My dad’s roots are from Aztec blood and my mom’s are from Mayan blood, so I guess I am a little bit of both,” Gutierrez explained. My family is right behind me. They tell me never to give up and never settle for second place.” Having run a sub-50-second 400 twice so far this year, he may not have to.