Prep track: Tomy Gutierrez helps lead beefed-up East High Leopards
Tomy Gutierrez is cool and composed.
The senior from East leads his team of 120 in stretches in preparation for the day's workout. He and his co-captains lead the count to 20 as the team loosens muscles and gets the blood moving. It's the calm before the storm, and Gutierrez loves it.
Gutierrez, a distance specialist, is looking to leave his mark in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. He placed 10th in state in cross country while capturing the Region 6 championship. He has set goals to finish in the top five in the 2 mile and has been working all winter to get there.
"Once you get competitive and start to push races and see how far you can go, it is really rewarding," Gutierrez said. "Track is a building process the more you work, the better you get."
East is not a powerhouse in track, but the Leopards' numbers tell a different story. With almost 80 more students joining the team, and about 70 percent of them either freshmen or sophomores, Coach Bill Cobler expects big things from East in the near future. He thinks East's diverse student population provides a great mix of athletes for every event.
"We've made a big push to get more students involved," he said. "If we focus on getting everyone ready to compete, we should have a lot of success."
Gutierrez credits his coaches for pushing him to be ready for his races and thinks his team has been successful in preparing students for the meets.
"In track, you never know how good you can be unless you compete," Gutierrez said. "The benefits of the physical fitness means you can improve both on the track and in one's life."
Tomy Gutierrez already has been accepted to the University of Utah and Westminster College and is awaiting notice from Harvard, where he would study engineering.
East's roster has jumped from 40 to 120 students in all events.
Gutierrez is focused on excelling at the 3,200 meters and has set a personal goal to be in the top five in the state.