Coach Louie Quintana and the Sun Devils truly landed a gem in Cibola long-distance runner Bernie Montoya, who stepped past other long-distance powerhouses like Oklahoma State and Oregon to go to Arizona State.
The five-time Arizona state track and field champion and three-time state Cross Country champion is ready to run with the Sun Devils once his senior year at Cibola is complete.
“I’m very excited to work with Coach Quintana,” Montoya said. “He’s really the coach that’s very similar to my coach, Coach Kris Norton right now. Very positive in whatever performances are going to happen, and [he’s] someone I think I can work with.”
“It’s very nice to be representing Arizona, and continue to represent,” Montoya said. “It’s gonna be awesome. I’m really excited, I can’t wait to compete and get ready to do [it] the Sun Devil Way.”
By most accounts, Montoya is the most highly regarded long-distance prospect to ever come through Tempe, Ariz.
It’s hard to argue with that, considering the – pun intended – track record he brings to the table.
Just speaking with this young man on Saturday at the Chandler Rotary Invitational, I just got the sense that, at his young age, he’s already got his thing together from a physical standpoint and from a mental standpoint.
With that being said, I’m not saying that Montoya is Clark Kent, because he isn’t. He’s a human being just like the rest of us. He has bad days just like the rest of us.
Montoya ran the 1600 meter run on Saturday and finished fifth (a place he’s not normally used to being in).
He looked visibly upset after the race, and can you blame him? He’s used to coming out on top in these races.
Montoya said that he might have been tired and that he hadn’t felt like that during a race in a long time. He kept his head up and stayed positive during our interview, but I could tell he wasn’t happy.
Gotta take the bad with the good. But life is all about making adjustments and making improvements each and every day.
Although Montoya has a lot of accolades and hardware at home, he knows he’s just made baby scratches on the surface of where he truly wants to be in his career.
“Running is definitely a long-term sport, and I’m at the earliest part of my career and I’m hoping to keep on improving,” Montoya said. “From here in high school into college and hopefully beyond, we’ll see.”
“I’m really happy to be competing right now.”
Montoya’s also happy that, despite feeling the way he felt on Saturday, his health is very good right now, which plays into his favor.
“I’m having really good workouts right now,” Montoya said. “We just gotta be patient, and if I’m patient, the performances will come.”