If you've noticed Giddings' athletic success since 2015, Cristian Montelongo has probably been a part of it. That's why he was a deserving VYPE Austin Public School Preseason Boys Track Athlete of the Year poll winner. He led the charge with 21,708 of the 55,547 total votes.
"I feel very honored," said Montelongo. "At times, you forget all the people supporting you throughout your journey, and it really made me feel supported and pushes me to try even harder in everything I do."
The senior Buffalo has reached UIL State four times in his career, with two trips in cross country and track. His last appearance resulted in a seventh place 1,600 meter finish at the 2018 UIL 4A track meet.
"One of the reasons I was able to get to where I was for junior year was my team's determination to make it to state," said Montelongo. "I was the lead runner and they all relied on me to help get them to state. So, whenever we got there, we wanted to make a statement amongst our school and almost leave a legacy for those that will soon come through Giddings."
But, that wasn't the only reason why last season's end-of-the-year meet meant so much to Montelongo.
"My favorite memory, of not only being a Buffalo but of life, is whenever my team made it to state last year," he said. "And whenever we were all finished and just sitting around our camp, talking about the race [and] talking about the season. I saw the biggest smile on my teammates' face because this was a dream they accomplished and that we accomplished as a team."
Montelongo understands the future of Giddings' athletics will be in the hands of others after this season, so he wants to train future leaders.
"We have a lot of youngsters," he said. "I'm trying to build them up so that, even when I'm gone, they can continue to follow me in my footsteps and leave their own legacy."
Along with cross county and track, Montelongo's endurance has set him up for success when he plays ultimate frisbee in his free time.
"I really enjoy playing ultimate frisbee," he said. "I organize it a lot with my friends, we usually orchestrate something, and hold the games at the local football field."
And what will he be doing after he graduates at the end of the semester? He'll be attending the United States Air Force Academy.
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