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Runner enjoys Jr. Olympic experience
Andrew Guardado's first season with the Central Valley Roadrunners youth track and field club culminated with an appearance at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships on Wednesday in North Carolina.

The 11-year-old Summit Charter Academy student, Jakob Maravilla, Thomas Moore and Mitchell Bland teamed up to place 14th in the 4x800 relay.

"I'm pretty pleased with how we did because we gave it our all," Andrew said. "That's all that mattered."

Guardado, Maravilla, Moore and Bland competed in the 11-12-year-old Midget Boys Division. They placed fourth in their heat with a time of 11 minutes, 31.55 seconds.

"I think the humid weather and jet lag got to them," head coach Carl Bryant said. "The kids still had a good time."

"It was pretty exciting during the opening ceremony," Andrew said. "We got to walk around the track. There was a lot of people."

Guardado also met nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis and 1996 decathlon champion Dan O'Brien.

"I got pictures and autographs," he said. " It was pretty cool."

Andrew helped lead the Roadrunners' 4x800 relay team to one first-place finish, and three thirds this year.

Andrew and his 4x800 relay teammates qualified for the Junior Olympics with a runner-up finish at the Region 14 championships in Bakersfield. They placed second in 11:01.50.

"He's just going to get better," Bryant said. "He's already committed to some offseason running with his parents."

Anthony Garcia, the son of Ceres High teacher Sue Garcia, brought home a medal from the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships.

The 4x800 Youth Boys 13-14-year-old relay team of Garcia, Cameron Crippen, Brynn Sargent and Arnel Surnip finished in eighth place (9:20.42).