Senior Damian Garcia is the first ever Pitman High athlete to be a division two champion in cross country. He has qualified for the state championship and is looking to finish his high school journey on a high note.
“It feels great, I never expected anything like this. Coming into high school I just wanted to be like my dad, he was an amazing runner, I just wanted to follow in his footsteps but I never thought I would make it this far,” said Garcia.
Ironically, Garcia had no desire to run when he was younger, but his parents and sisters were all runners and they convinced to follow in the family’s footsteps. He first started running in his junior high PE class and never looked back. What really motivated him to keep improving initially was that he wanted to come home and brag about his mile time to his sister.
“I just wanted to try and improve on my mile time every week. I wanted to come home and tell my mom and sister. My sister was on track so I thought she would be happy hearing that,” said Garcia.
He eventually joined track and he felt a need to keep improving and getting better and better. That determination has helped Garcia in not only running, but a lot of different aspects of his life as well.
He is excited to participate in the state championship being held on Nov. 27 and is glad his teammate and friend is going to be right there with him.
“I’m really happy and proud to represent my team. Myself and my friend are both going so I’m really excited to have a partner there with me. I can’t wait to see how far I’ve come at state,” said Garcia.
He feels fortunate to have a supportive group of teammates and believes he wouldn’t have had as much success as he had without them.
“Our team is amazing and I think it helps my mentality. Running takes a lot of mental strength and having an environment is amazing. My coaches are also amazing, they motivate me to do my best and help a lot,” said Garcia.
He plans on continuing running in college, and studying for a career in business. There are a couple colleges that he is interested in, but he hasn’t made a decision and is going to save that for later in the school year.