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Ceres youth qualifies for National meet
Andrew Guardado has had a brief but successful career with the Central Valley Roadrunners' track and field club.

For the second year in a row, the Ceres youth will participate in the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships.

"Getting this far took me completely by surprise," Andrew said. "I didn't think I'd be able to run very well because I had pneumonia the beginning of March. It took me a while to recover. I missed a couple of meets."

Guardado will team up with Andrew Raspo, Caleb Wolterstorff and Trevor Crippen in the midget boys 11-12-year-old 4x800 relay.

The quartet finished in third place with a season-best time of 11:08.24 at the Region 16 Championships on July 9 at Modesto Junior College.

"We only had one practice before the qualifier meet," Andrew said. "That made it a little challenging."

"They dropped 10 seconds from what they ran at the Association Championships," head coach Carl Bryant said.

Guardado attended the National Junior Olympic meet in North Carolina in 2009. He was a member of Central Valley's 14th-place (11:31.55) midget boys 4x800 relay team.

"Hopefully, we do a lot better this year," Andrew said. "I'm definitely going to be nervous. There's new competition."

The Roadrunners will have 19 representatives at the 2010 National Junior Olympics.

Guardado, Raspo, Wolterstorff and Crippen will run today at Sacramento City College's Hughes Stadium.

"Andrew's the only returning kid on that particular boys relay," Bryant said. "He's improved a lot. He's more confident. Physically, he's grown. His effort in practice has intensified because he wanted to make it back."

"I'm just hoping we finish in the top 8 and medal," Guardado said. "It would be really exciting. I'd hang it up."

Andrew attends Vanguard Preparatory Academy in Empire. The soon-to-be seventh grader played for the school's basketball team last winter.

"Basketball is a team sport," Andrew said. "It's fun. Track is a lot of hard work. I like the feeling after you beat your old time or when you pass somebody."

Guardado's parents, Gino and Sara, have been very supportive.

Andrew and Gino train together.

"We're super excited for him," Sara said.