W.H. Adamson High School senior Sergio Armendariz is a tall, slender young man with a soft voice and polite manner. He’s quick to open doors for others and defers to his coach in conversation. But when he begins talking about his love for track and field and cross-country, his eyes light up, he sits a bit taller and leans in.
Recently named Dallas ISD’s male Student Athlete of the Year in recognition of his accomplishments as a scholar and athlete, 18-year-old Armendariz is a proud, lifelong resident of Oak Cliff and has attended Adamson High School for four years. For three of those years he’s racked up an impressive record as a two-time regional cross-country champion, a regional champion in track, and a state track finalist, all while maintaining a 3.74 GPA. Citing Sergio’s athletic record, Coach Robert Urbina, who’s worked with distance runners at Adamson for 23 years, says he’s a one-of-a-kind competitor.
“Sergio is the best long-distance runner I’ve ever coached,” Urbina said. “He loves cross-country but I think track is his best sport. In track, even though you’re competing as a team, you’re also competing against the clock. It’s you against the world, you against everybody else.”
Twenty-sixth in his graduating class of 325, Sergio acknowledges he’s motivated by the love of competition, but he cites other compelling reasons for his staying power as a runner and scholar. “It’s helped me get scholarships for college so that my family doesn’t have to pay,” he said. “Also, I have very good teammates, and an awesome coach who always supports me.”
When asked how he balances his participation in sports with the study time required to keep up his grades, he says, “With no pass, no play, I have to keep up my grades or I can’t compete.” Coach Urbina quickly adds that some of the credit for the athlete’s focus on academics belongs to his parents. They are staunch supporters of his involvement in sports, but the coach says mom especially is all about academics. “His mom is on him all the time about keeping up his grades,” says Urbina. That insistence on academics is music to a teacher’s ear. It’s also what gives Urbina the confidence that Sergio will thrive in college much as he has in high school.
In August, Armendariz, the first in his family to attend college, will start school at Sam Houston State University on a track scholarship. He plans to study sports kinesiology to prepare for a career as a physical therapist or sports trainer.