Mendez continues to make strides as runner
“Someone on the team was in my math class and got me into it,” Mendez said. “I did a day with the team, I liked it and figured I’d sign up. I’ve been with it ever since.
Mendez has been running well in 2023, and at the EscaRosa Meet two weeks ago at the Osceola Golf Course in Pensacola, he ran an 18:03, good enough for a top 20 finish. Mendez finished 17th overall.
He said earlier this season that he tries not to go out too hard at the start of the race and is always focused on a strong finish while being motivated by teammate Eli Tyner, who has been successful in his own right this year for the Patriots. Tyner was seventh at the EscaRosa meet with a 17:30.
“I’m always trying to keep up with Eli,” Mendez said. “He really pushes me. I want to get down into the low 17’s, maybe skim past that.”
Mendez is in his third year of cross-country for the Patriots and has been one of their top runners all season. He’s noticed a lot of improvements.
“I started off better than last year,” Mendez said. “We’ve done more hill repeats at UWF and that’s helped a lot. I’ve gotten a lot better as a runner. My teammates have, too.”
Mendez also runs track for Pace, competing in the 1600 and 3200 as well as the 4×800.
As much as he enjoys running, it’s more than what takes place on the course that appeals to Mendez when it comes to cross-country.
“I love this sport. I have so many friends and my teammates are amazing. I love everything about the sport,” Mendez said.