Brett Munoz has no shortage of motivation as he gears up for the Class 3A UIL State Track and Field Meet.
The New Waverly sophomore, a running back on the Bulldogs’ football team, suffered a strained ACL and meniscus at Hardin in the second game of the season last fall. He missed the rest of the football season, as well as any winter sports, as he spent several months going through physical therapy.
Knowing that he only had one more chance to make his mark as a sophomore, Munoz poured all of his energy into track — something that has resulted in district, area and regional championships, and now, his first trip to state.
“I’ve worked probably twice as hard as I did last year,” Munoz said. “Coming off of getting hurt during football season, and not being able to play football or a mid-year sport, I was going to put everything I could into track after I got better. … It paid off.”
“It was very gratifying to see him overcome,” added New Waverly head football coach Dean Schaub. “Brett got hurt at the beginning of the season, and he still came out every practice and was on the sidelines for every game. Track came along, and he realized it was his chance after missing most of his sophomore year.”
Munoz is scheduled to compete in the 300-meter hurdles on Friday at the state meet, which is being held at the University of Texas in Austin.
During the same event at last year’s area meet, a late reaction at the start resulted in Munoz’s season ending earlier than expected. His coach believes he used the disappointment as fuel to reach where he is now.
“What happened at area last year gave him drive for the beginning of this year,” New Waverly track and field coach Melvin Williams said. “I think he could’ve made it out of area last year too. With him not getting out when he had expectations there, he was like, ‘I have to get out this year. I’m not going to let that happen to me again.’
“That pushed him as far as getting to regionals, and it got him prepared for where he is now.”
Munoz surprised himself at regionals last month, noting that he didn’t expect to win, and was simply aiming to do the best he could. However, Williams saw signs at the region meet that his hurdler had the opportunity for a big day.
“When we were at the meet before he had to run his prelims on Friday, we were sitting down and just having a talk about different things,” the coach said. “Some of the stuff we were talking about, and the way he was responding to those questions, I knew that he was mentally prepared and ready to run. Once we got through with that conversation, I knew that he would have a good chance to make it out.
“His mindset has changed from district to area, area to regionals and from regionals to this point right now. It’s changed for good, and that’s one of the things that helped him PR (personal record) at the regional track meet.”
While Munoz didn’t enter regionals expecting to win, his victory at the meet has resulted in a confidence boost as he prepares for state.
Now, he knows that anything is possible
“It showed me what I can do,” he said. “It shows me that if I push even harder, I might exceed my expectations.”