Granados earns All-America honors at Junior Olympics nationals

With two Class 1A state championships and five region championships under his belt, Beatty High School’s rising junior Jose Granados will be among the top returning distance runners in the state next track season.

But being one of the best in Nevada apparently is not enough.

For the second year in a row, Granados qualified for the USA Track &Field National Junior Olympic Championships, and this time he came back with a new title: All-American.

Representing the Vegas Valley Track Club, Granados finished seventh in the boys 15-16-year-old 1500 meter, running a personal-record time of 4 minutes, 10.01 seconds at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro. The top eight finishers were named All-Americans.

If the Amargosa resident was impressed with himself, he didn’t show it.

“It’s OK,” Granados said of the seventh-place finish. “I’ll come back with a goal.”

Granados had the sixth-best time in the preliminaries, running 4:13.24, despite being somewhat nervous. By the finals, three days later, he was more at ease.

“I felt more comfortable, more relaxed, more confident than I did in the prelims,” he recalled. “I ran the prelims really well and I think I was ranked sixth, and that boosted my confidence.”

The more confident Granados shaved more than three seconds off his preliminary time, satisfying his pre-meet goal.

“For the 1500, I really wanted to run a 4:10, or a sub-4:10,” said Granados, who was less than four seconds off the winning time.

Being an All-American wasn’t enough for Granados, who also competed in the 2-kilometer steeplechase despite limited experience in the event.

“It’s just long-distance hurdling,” Granados explained. “I practiced it a couple of times.”

That was all the preparation he needed to finish 10th at nationals, finishing the steeplechase in 6:37.22.

“I really didn’t know what a good time was when I first started,” Granados said. “Once I looked at other people’s times, seeing how fast they were, I was actually surprised by how good I was at it.”

Granados said the second time around was a very different experience than his first trip to nationals, which last year were held in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Last year I knew how great the athletes were that I would be competing against, but I didn’t have a clue how fast they were,” Granados said. “This year I had more of an understanding of how fast they were.”

Granados did not make the 10-day trip alone. Along with four other members of the Vegas Valley Track Club, Granados’ mother and brother were scheduled to make the trip to North Carolina, and his father also ended up joining the party. “That was a nice surprise,” he said.

The Granados family had a lot of support for their trip.

“If it wasn’t for the people and the businesses of Amargosa and Beatty, it wouldn’t have been possible for Jose to go to the Junior Olympics,” said Julio Granados, Jose’s father.

The younger Granados was equally appreciative.

“It’s a long list,” Jose began. “The Stagecoach in Beatty, Northwest Academy in Amargosa, Saddleback Orchard in Amargosa, IMV in Amargosa, Whitman Trucking in Amargosa, Ponderosa Dairy in Amargosa, Longstreet’s in Amargosa, Beatty VFW and Auxiliary, Amargosa VFW, Amargosa Ruby Store, US Ecology near Beatty and Christ of the Desert Mission Church in Amargosa.

“I’d like to thank the community of both Amargosa and Beatty for what they’ve done to help me and my family get to North Carolina. It was just a blessing that the community helped me out.”

Between the high school season and the summer circuit, Granados is on a roll. So what’s next for him?

“PR in everything. Just improve. Break the school records,” he lists as goals. And you don’t have to ask him twice if he knows the school records off the top of his head.

“The 1600 is 4:31, 3200 is 9:55, and the 800 is 1:59,” Granados said. “In the 800 I’m actually three seconds off, and for the 16 I’m pretty close to that, and for the 32 I’m getting there, but it’s going to be hard. But I’m still growing and stuff, so hopefully I’ll be able to reach that.”

How about a return trip to the National Junior Olympic Championships?

“Yes,” he said emphatically. “And hopefully I can bring back gold.”

Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at trysinski@pvtimes.com On Twitter:@pvtimes