There was a time when Jose Granados had visions of competing at the highest level of collegiate sports.
The Beatty High School senior certainly has the credentials. Granados is a nine-time region champion in track and field and cross country and a four-time Class 1A state champ.
And he has made back-to-back trips to USA Track & Field’s Junior Olympics, earning All-America status both times.
But there is the small matter of actually going to school, and as the time came closer for making a decision, Granados placed more of an emphasis on the classroom.
“I come from Beatty and Amargosa, and the most I’ve ever had in a class is like 30 people,” Granados said. “So I don’t want to go right into a big university where there are hundreds of kids and I don’t get that interaction with teachers I might want.”
Enter Everett Community College, a 19,000-student institution in Everett, Washington, a city of 110,000 located 25 miles north of Seattle. Everett offers 11 sports and competes in the Northwest Athletic Conference. But Granados didn’t find Everett; Everett found him.
“Actually they reached out to my coach, and my coach told me about it,” Granados said. “She said, ‘I really think you should check this place out.’ At first I was like, whatever, but then I started talking to them and the next thing you know we’ve got tickets to Everett. And I signed my letter of intent.”
Granados is very comfortable with Everett head coach Julian Bardwell and distance coach Gary Davis, an Everett alumnus who ran a 4:27 mile in college.
“I feel like I have a connection with the coaches,” Granados said. “They’re young and easy to talk to.”
They also won the approval of his father, who made the February trip to see the school.
“The coaches were amazing and very personable,” Julio Granados said. “Coach Gary Davis made Jose feel right at home.”
For his part, Davis is thrilled to have Granados moving north.
“I must admit Jose is a once-in-a-lifetime type of athlete,” the Trojans distance coach said. “He will be huge for our program. I can’t wait to get him here this fall.”
The Trojans have a competitive men’s track and field program; they finished fifth out of 11 teams at last year’s NWAC Championships. Although they placed seventh out of nine teams in the conference cross country championships, Granados said that, historically, the Trojans have been stronger on the trails.
“They’ve got a bunch of titles for cross country,” he said. “But I’m not going to be doing a full season of cross country. I’ll be doing a few meets here and there, but they’ll be prepping me for indoor and outdoor track.”
Granados has run two seasons of cross country at Beatty, but indoor track will be a new thing for him.
“One of my friends ran for one year and did an indoor season, and he said it’s like it’s a whole other ball game,” he said.
But the novelty of indoor track is insignificant compared to spending the next two years in a very different environment.
“The scenery is beautiful,” said Granados, who said he visited the school in February. “Whenever you get away from the city, it’s all green. And the air there is so fresh. It will get me time away from home, being cooped up here for 18 years.
“I’m nervous but excited. I want to get out of here, but at the same time all my family is here and stuff, and I think that’s going to take a toll.”
Lest anyone think his family might take offense to that sentence, Granados said his family is behind his decision to start college 1,100 miles from home.
“They’re all for it,” he said. “They want me to get out of here, too, but my grandma is taking it a little personally. ‘Who’s going to cook your food?’ She’s a neighbor.
“My other grandma lives right near us, too. She’s also a neighbor.”
Granados has kept up with his training regimen while schools have been closed.
“I’ve been running a lot more,” he said. “My dad got me this trainer, Luis Orta. He’s an Olympic runner. He’s a really good coach, and he mixes up his workouts. I feel great.”
Orta’s resume is extensive. In addition to running in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 for his native Venezuela, he has competed in four world championships, the Pan-American Games and the South American Games, and he holds national records in the half-marathon and the 10-kilometer road race.
Records matter to Granados, who cited breaking the school record in the 1,600 meters as his best memory from high school. Granados outdueled Jared Marchegger, Sierra Lutheran’s five-time state champion, in a thrilling race to capture the state title that night, but it was the Beatty school-record time of 4 minutes, 29:08 seconds that meant the most.
“It was a very emotional race for me,” said Granados, who said the old mark was 4:32.
Granados has yet to decide between kinesiology, fire technology and welding. Whether he winds up as a physical therapist, a firefighter or a welder, Granados has another goal to complete first.
“I want to get my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “They said they could lead me to a university which would offer the programs I want to get my degree in.”
And Davis is confident Granados will do just that.
“Jose is a good fit for Everett Community College because he is much more than an athlete,” Davis said. “His dedication in the classroom is what I look for in a student-athlete.
“Don’t worry. Jose is in good hands.”
Jose Granados in postseason
2019 Track and field
1A State — 800: 1. 2:00.62; 1,600: 1. 4:29.08; 3,200: 3. 10:27.61.
1A South — 800: 1. 2:01.03; 1,600: 1. 4:39.27; 3,200: 1. 10:29.03.
2019 Cross Country
2A/1A State — 6. 17:57.
2A/1A South — 1. 17:48.9.
2018 Track and field
1A State — 800: 1. 2:02.01; 1,600: 1. 4:36.61; 3,200: 2. 10:11.12.
1A South — 800: 1. 2:06.86; 1,600: 1. 4:40.32; 3,200: 1. 10:41.80.
2018 Cross Country
2A/1A State — 3. 17:32.7
2A/1A South — 3. 18:11.3
2017 Track and field
1A State — 1,600: 2. 4:47.70; 3,200: 3. 10:31.32.
1A South — 1,600: 1. 4:53.39; 3,200: 1. 11:17.05.