AUSTIN — Nathan George’s pride, glee and excitement over winning a gold medal at the state track and field meet is shared by the entire school and community at Miller Grove.
George’s time of 4:40.65 took first place and the gold medal in the 1,600-meter run at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the Class 1A, Division II finals on the campus of the University of Texas.
The gloomy and wet weather, which caused delays in the track meet might have been the best thing to happen to runner from the Hornets.
“With all the rain and delays in the meet, he was able to get about two hours of extra rest,” said Gary Billingsley, Miller Grove head coach. “I think the delay helped him more mentally than physically.”
Billingsley explained that earlier in the day, George, a junior in his first competition at Austin, had turned in a time of 2:01 in the 800-meter run, well off his goal. The coach said he ran nervous and tight in the race and did not do well.
George put the bad race behind him and soaked up the needed race for the 1,600 later than day.
“We knew he had a chance in the mile if he could stay close for the first half of the race,” Billingsley said. “Nathan ran a great race and was able to do exactly what he wanted during the race.”
George surprised the field and took gold in the race.
“It felt good reaching a goal that my coach and I set earlier in the year,” George said. “I don’t want to settle for the gold medal, but to push myself to be the best I can be. For next year, I want to reach the goals we have set. Everything else will fall into place.”
George qualified for state with a time of 5:00.74 at regional. His time was eighth slowest time in the nine person field.
The person with the fastest seeding time was Jasiel Ontiveros of Loop at 4:41.06.
When the official race was over, it was George in first place holding his arms outstretched as he crossed the damp finish line.
“I am very happy for Nathan who has battled injuries for two years. For him to be able to win a state championship with all that he has gone through, shows the work ethic and determination of this young man,” Billingsley said.