Centennial track stars race to nationals

Teammates Antonio Camacho-Bucks and Sebastian Martinez

Teammates Antonio Camacho-Bucks and Sebastian Martinez

From March 9-12, 2023, seven Centennial High School Students spent the weekend in Boston, Massachusetts at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, where they competed with the top runners in the country.

Despite the classic anticipation and focus before the race, senior Sebastian Martinez was more than excited to be at the meet to watch different events and cheer on his teammates. In the meet, Martinez competed in the mile championship, as well as the distance medley relay. He raced the 1200 meter leg of the race, alongside his teammates Michael Pearson, David Herzberger, and Antonio Camacho-Bucks; not only did they place fifth, but they also beat the Maryland state indoor track record. Martinez describes the surreal feeling after finishing the relay; “It gained us a good experience for me going on to college and for the underclassmen for next year. It was kind of a big experience, [especially] knowing the added pressure that can sometimes be at a meet like that,” Martinez reflected.

Since Martinez’s first official track season in the winter of his freshman year, he has gotten more serious about his running career. As he continued to PR throughout the first years of high school, he realized that running in college was a big possibility. By the end of his junior year, Martinez says that he decided “this is what I want to do,” and he took the next steps, focusing on cross country and trying to improve as much as he could. After the long process of visiting colleges and meeting with the team, Martinez committed to Princeton University, where he will study international affairs and continue his running career.

Sophomore Riley Herdson PR’d in the 800 meter back in January at the Hispanic Games at the New York Armory, where she also unexpectedly hit the qualifying time that sent her up to the charming city of Boston this past March. “I would definitely consider that the largest meet I’ve ever been to,” Herdson says. “It was cool to be in that environment where everyone was just the best of the best, who were in these championship races and breaking all these records.” The meet allowed for opportunities to meet new people and make new friends from all across the country. Herdson says she even made a friend from Florida. 

Herdson also started her running career back in the winter of her freshman year, after completing a successful season of soccer on the Centennial team and hoping to stay active throughout the winter. She decided to continue running, going three-for-three this year with cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track this spring. “When you finish a race it just feels so good,” Herdson explains the rewarding feeling that motivated her to keep on running. Herdson still has two years left of high school running, and it can only be imagined how much she will accomplish in that time.

Senior Antonio Camacho-Bucks made an appearance at the national meet for the second time, competing in the mile championship, the distance medley relay, where he anchored with the 1600 meter leg, and the 4×400 meter relay with his teammates Joseph Osoh, Michael Pearson, and Akshar Ravichandran. Camacho-Bucks describes the experience as nerve-racking, but overall exciting to be able to hang out with the team and run at such a high level.

Camacho-Bucks says he has always been interested in running, and even ran 5K’s throughout middle school, although he mainly started focusing on it once he got to high school. Throughout his years on the Centennial track team, he has learned more about how to make sure his performance is always at its best. Running is an intense sport, and so it is not only imperative to constantly train and challenge your body physically, but also mentally. Before his races, Camacho-Bucks likes to “visualize the race and how it’s going to go and come up with a plan and a goal for the race,” which seems to be a tried and true method for him. Camacho is set to run at the University of Colorado Boulder next fall, alongside a team of stellar athletes from across the country. 

“[Coach]McCoy’s big thing is ‘what’s your why’, and as I’m running, I’m still finding my why, but it’s just like, it feels so good once you finish and you know you’ve worked hard but it pays off,” Herdson adds.

Centennial Athletes at New Balance Nationals indoor track: 

Antonio Camacho Bucks, grade 12

Riley Herdson, grade 10

David Herzberger, grade 10

Sebastian Martinez, grade 12

Joseph Osoh, grade 12

Michael Pearson, grade 12

Akshar Ravichandran, grade 12

Antonio Camacho-Bucks




Riley Herdson
Distance Medley Relay- David Herzberger, Sebastian Martinez, Michael Pearson, Antonio Camacho-Bucks


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