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Fernandez Sets One National, Two State Meet Records
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Finishing off a high school career as decorated as that of Riverbank High senior German Fernandez seemed virtually impossible, until 12,000-plus screaming fans ushered Fernandez into his most remarkable accomplishments to date on the state's brightest stage.

The CIF State Meet at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California turned into his own personal playground for Fernandez, as the distance running phenom closed out an illustrious career by setting new National and State CIF Meet records in the 3200 and a new CIF State Meet record in the 1600.

"The crowd was just going wild out there," Riverbank coach Bruce Edwards said. "Everyone was yelling 'German, German, German, go German' on both sides of the stadium. When he finished the 3200, the people just couldn't believe it. There was silence and then applause and a standing ovation.

"He stole the show with his 3200 performance."

Fernandez carved out a new lane in the dynamics of the state meet, finishing with an unprecedented double victory in two distance running events, pushing himself to deliver the fastest times raced in the nation this year. He ran his first race, the 1600, in 4:00.29 and doubled back to an amazing 8:34.23 in the 3200.

"I knew he was pretty capable of running close to those times," Edwards said. "I knew he could go four minutes in the mile, in the 3200 I knew he could break 8:40.

"I said on a good day he could be close to the National record, but I didn't expect him to do it."

Fernandez opened competition with the 1600 starting a little after 4 p.m., followed by his appointment with destiny at 6:56 p.m. in the 3200 meters. The unbelievable performance truly takes on new meaning when taking into consideration that the races were less than three hours apart.

The performance was viewed by a national audience and the broadcast left no room for the imagination ... Fernandez was picture perfect in closing out his high school career.

Several thousand fans were on hand, encouraging Riverbank's royalty to finish one of the greatest high school athletic achievements with a national record.

"People could really appreciate what German was doing," Edwards said. "The effort that he gave to go for the best time that he could inspired everybody. In cross country he blows past you for a split second, in this race you could see him the whole time."

After closing out the 1600 in record time, Fernandez was then forced to wait out in the field area to be recognized with his award, delaying him in his normal routine to rehydrate his body.

The time in between the two races, however, may have been as valuable as the 12-plus total minutes Fernandez spent carving his name into the record books.

"After the race he was on the field for about 35 minutes, so he wasn't able to get the stuff we needed to get in him," Edwards said. "When we got him out we immediately got him started with some Gatorade for liquid and he ate some very light white bread rolls.

"It sort of absorbs stomach acids if you're nervous and gets some energy into his blood as well."

Fernandez will continue his career into the NCAA Division I ranks as he heads to Stillwater to attend Oklahoma State University on a full athletic scholarship. The Cowboys, who already have his accomplishments in Norwalk on the school's website, have a pretty good idea of what type of athlete they landed in Fernandez.

"He (Oklahoma head coach Dave Smith) knew German was good," Edwards said. "But he did not realize that he was this good. He is feeling some phenomenal pressure."

It is a pressure that Edwards and assistant coach Johnny Vizcaino have forced Smith to deal with after a phenomenal job developing Fernandez into the talent he is today.

"We all have had so much to do with German's growth," Edwards said of his multiple coaching partners. "German would not be where he is now without both of us being in the picture."