MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — McAllen Memorial junior distance runner Ayden Granados is heading to the UIL State Track and Field Meet as regional champion in two events, the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. 

“It’s a feeling like no other, it’s something magical,” said Granados. “You train all year to finally get where you want to be.”

The junior qualified for the state track and field meet for the first time in his career. 

His hunger for greatness was almost devoured by his hunger for food. 

“When I was doing 4:40’s (in the 1600-meter run) I was eating meatball subs and my stomach wasn’t having it.”

Granados switched to lighter foods before races. 

His times improved greatly. 

While his diet was questionable, his work ethic was never an issue. 

“We’re always talking about his work ethic,” said McAllen Memorial track and field assistant coach Jesse Trejo. “He comes in, he’s a hard worker and last one to leave. Does the little things right.” 

Granados and his friend Daniel Alamilla, a distance runner at Mission Veterans, had big plans for the Region IV-5A meet. 

“Goal was for me and him to come 1-2,” Granados said. “I think we would have a good shot.”

Alamilla suffered an injury that kept him out of the regional meet. 

“He gave me his spikes to run in to kind of have that state dream we had since we were at summer camp together,” said the McAllen Memorial junior.

Running in Alamilla’s shoes, Granados set a Region IV-5A record in the 1,600-meter run, finishing in 4:11.69. 

“I genuinely think because of him and that motivation, the spikes he gave me, they’re his, they got me going,” Granados said.  

Granados also won a regional title in the 3,200-meter run.  

The 1,600-meter run is his strongest event. 

He recorded the best time among the runners he’ll face at the state meet in Austin. 

“It’s a lot of pressure, anything can happen,” Granados said. “Going in as number one only thing you can do is get one. A lot of these guys are something special.”

The state meet gets underway on Thursday, May 12. 

Granados’ two races will be on Friday, May 13.