No. 3: Moscow's 'golden' sprinter caps stellar prep career
Editor's Note: This is the eighth in a series of 10 stories counting down The Telegram's top 10 sports stories for 2012 as chosen by The Telegram staff.
By KEVIN THOMPSON
For a guy who wasn't much of a fan of running when he was younger, Moscow's Osvaldo Granillo sure made a name for himself.
At the Kansas state track meet at Wichita's Cessna Stadium the last weekend of May, Granillo won three individual gold medals to finish his high school career with 10.
It also earned him The Telegram's No. 3 spot for the best sports story of 2012.
Besides the six individual golds, he also anchored back-to-back 4x400 and 4x800 relay winners.
In 2012, Granillo won the 1A 400 meters for the first time, defended his 100 meter title, and took the 200 meters title for the third straight year.
In the 200 meters, the Wildcat sprinter out-leaned LaCrosse's Levi Morss. The stadium scoreboard showed the two in a tie, but the computer picked Granillo as the winner by just .005 seconds.
"My legs were so tired, I almost lost them and fell on my face," Granillo said right after the race. "We had just been working on doing sprints downhill (in practice), and I got told I was going to lean last second. It was going to come down to those point-0's, and it did."
Earlier that Saturday afternoon, Granillo had defeated Morss in the 100 meters, setting what appeared to be a new 1A state record of 10.67, breaking the old mark of 10.80.
"I've wanted this race. It's so hard when you have a target on your back. I've worked and worked on my arms and leg driving. It was great today," he said following that race.
Unfortunately, a month later, Granillo was informed by KSHSAA officials that his time was wind-aided (it was "point-something miles per hour" over the limit, he was told).
Hearing that was heart-breaking, he said, but it was one of those things he had to accept.
"My goal was to win," he said. "The record would have been nice, though."
The meet was the crowning point of an outstanding high school career for Granillo. Following the regional meet the week before, he said that a week's worth of sleepless nights, both from eagerness and anxiety, had made his preparations tough.
"I knew what it was going to take, and I knew how fast these boys were," Granillo said. "Having a target on your back is one of the most nerve-racking deals to go through."
He also had his eyes set on avenging his only losses of the season, both to Morss at a meet in Jetmore earlier in the season.
That was a motivator, Moscow coach Aaron Roop said.
"Obviously, he wanted to get back at (Morss) after he lost to him, and I think he proved it," Roop said. "There's no doubt in (Cessna Stadium) that he's the fastest kid in 1A."
His achievements in those three years gained attention from colleges, and he is now a red-shirt freshman at Central Missouri State University, a Division-II school in Warrensburg, outside of Kansas City.
Granillo is taking his skills to the 10-event decathlon, which, in addition to the 100- and 400-meter dashes, involves the 1,500-meter run, long jump, javelin and pole vault, among others.
"I wish that one wasn't in there," he joked ruefully about the pole vault. "My coach always tells me I'm the fastest on the track but the slowest on the runway in pole vault."
But training is not new to him, so even though he calls it "starting on block one again," it's at a whole new level with a great group of teammates with whom to train, including one guy who recently set a national record.
When he first started track in high school, Granillo said he never envisioned it taking him as far as it has.
"When I first started, I wished I'd never started track. I never planned on going anywhere," he said. "It's surprised me."
His success was not really a goal until after his junior year. Competing in front of a crowd of thousands and carving a name for himself and Moscow in those three years, though, got him thinking about his future.
"You can't be living with what you did in high school. If you can't do it now, it doesn't happen," he said.
But his past has trained him for his future in the sport.
"I started on block one. Now I know I've just got to keep working hard. All that hard work will pay off. I just can't get frustrated," he said.
That philosophy transfers to life, as well, he has discovered. His success was the result of hard work and improvement.
His track scholarship is helping him earn a degree in computer information systems in networking.
It's a field that is growing and changing daily, but he's learned to be adaptable.
If he were to give advice, it's something he has learned from track.
"It's going to be frustrating when you're down and getting beat up. But you've just got to keep working hard. Keep your head on straight, have some goals, then go get them," he said.
Good advice from a guy who lived it.