CLACKAMAS, Ore. (KOIN) – Clackamas High School senior Anthony Mendez has overcome a lot since his freshman year.
During his first season of high school track, something happened to Mendez while competing in the mile relay.
“I was running the last 100 meters,” said Mendez. “I was going to kick and I heard a pop in my hip, and I couldn’t just go anymore. It was just hurting really bad and I literally walked to the finish line. It was just a hip flexor. It was something to do with my hip flexors.”
After sitting out for a few weeks, he would finally return to the track.
Last season the hard work finally paid off for Mendez, who qualified for state in the 100 meters and 200 meters.
“It was an amazing experience running on Hayward Field,” said Mendez. “You know, just running where some of the best athletes have ran: Steve Prefontaine and Tyson Gay.”
Mendez finished in eighth place in the 100 meters, and cruised through the finish line in fifth place in the 200 meters.
His best time in the 100 meters is 10.97, and he has run 22.08 in the 200 meters.
Now he’s getting ready to compete in the Portland Indoor Classic in March.
“I know it’s the top 64 [athletes] from both Oregon and Washington, and I believe that I’ll be able to be in that and hopefully place high,” said Mendez.
In the classroom our athlete of the week carries a 3.3 GPA, and is taking advanced placement courses.
“Oh, whenever I feel like I’m giving up I just think about [what my parents went through years ago],” said Mendez. “My Dad always tells me, ‘You know, we came to this country [from Cuba] with $20 in our pocket.’ I’m excited to be able to say [that] I’m in the first in my family, you know, to have the Mendez name [and] just be able to go to college.”
“Anthony when he came to me was a very quiet, hard-working student. You could tell that he has determination and just a good strong work ethic and perseverance,” Carol Cottingham, who taught Mendez in third grade, said. “[He was] quiet but obviously he’s come a long way. That’s awesome.”
“Work hard and never give up, because there’s opportunities everywhere,” said Mendez.