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Baby Steps: Turning Heads and Earning Respect with Carlos Santos

Santos+at+the+Jim+Smith+invitational+at+Sunken+Meadow+State+Park%3B+ran+a+17%3A10.51+5k+and+received+trophy+and+medal+for+having+the+fastest+run+of+the+day.
Santos at the Jim Smith invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park; ran a 17:10.51 5k and received trophy and medal for having the fastest run of the day.

Santos at the Jim Smith invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park; ran a 17:10.51 5k and received trophy and medal for having the fastest run of the day.

Photo by RIcky Coleman

Photo by RIcky Coleman

Santos at the Jim Smith invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park; ran a 17:10.51 5k and received trophy and medal for having the fastest run of the day.

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As an athlete, respect is something that is not simply obtained, but rather it is earned as a direct result of effort and an unmatched work ethic. No matter the sport, the importance of respect to an athlete is as important, if not more important, than winning. For Carlos Santos, a senior cross-country runner at Patchogue-Medford High School, respect is imperative. For many, Santos needs no introduction as he has gained the attention of many in the cross-country world and beyond.

Most recently, Santos turned heads when he won the John Smith Senior Race a whole fifty seconds faster than the field. To Santos, this race was all about making a statement and being seen. “I ran the time that I did for the respect that I deserved after being underrated and not getting the respect under my name as a Division I athlete”, Santos said. He pointed out that he felt forgotten about after the spring season in which he only participated in steeple. During this time, he didn’t race many upper-level runners that would typically catch people’s attention; therefore, he was looked over. However, he sends a very strong message to anyone who fails to remember him: “I’m here. Don’t forget about me or underrate me at all.”

“I’m here. Don’t forget about me or underrate me at all.””

— Carlos Santos

Incredibly, this is only Santos’ second year running cross-country. After years of playing soccer, he left to fully commit to cross-country as he began to realize he is capable of doing much more as an independent athlete rather than being part of a team. In addition to this realization, he has gained an understanding for his true potential as a runner as his times have dropped exponentially since freshman year.

With a new understanding of his capabilities, he has set out to achieve some impressive goals for this season. He says, “It would be my dream to say that I went to States all three seasons and showed that I can be All-County for the past three years.” He also says that he wants to demonstrate how elite he is by becoming “the best athlete to come through Pat-Med since Anthony Famiglietti”, a Patchogue-Medford legend, Olympian, and role model for Santos.

Equally as impressive, Santos has the potential to be the first Patchogue-Medford student in eighteen years to make the state public school championship. When asked what this would mean to him, Santos said, “That would mean the world to me. I couldn’t imagine myself crossing the line knowing that I made the state meet. It’s something to take baby steps with and work through, but it’s my dream.” He recalled disappointingly, “I was close last year and one bad race affected me a lot.” He admitted he knows that one race was the difference for him last season, as he came just short of making Patchogue-Medford history, and that’s something that does not sit well with him. For Santos, it seems that his motivation doesn’t necessarily stem from his success, but it instead stems from his failure. After last season, he is determined to make a name for not only himself; but, for all of Patchogue-Medford.

In addition to the respect of those who watch him race, Santos has gained the reverence of himself through his perseverance and undeniable work ethic, and now he strives to maintain and grow that of which he has earned from all who have seen him race. He has undoubtedly turned heads already this season, and when asked how he plans to sustain the spotlight, he said, “My key has always been racing hard no matter what the competition is. I always want to demonstrate that I can be the best athlete out there, even if there’s no competition, and dominate throughout the whole season.” While he admits he sometimes has doubts about himself regarding physical stamina throughout the season, and occasionally worries about his own personal limits, he assures himself that he know what he has to do to keep himself at the performing level he has risen to.

At Patchogue-Medford High School, we’ve seen many incredible athletes walk our halls. For Carlos Santos, being one of those incredible athletes is something he has strived to do, and something has already achieved. With the eyes of many upon him, Santos knows exactly what he has to do. He has earned the respect that he knows he deserves, and he shows no signs of losing it anytime soon.

Photo by Ricky Coleman

Santos at the Fireman's Field invitational in Ridge, NY; ran a 16:44 “5k” (3.2 miles).

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1 Comment

One Response to “Baby Steps: Turning Heads and Earning Respect with Carlos Santos”

  1. Carlos santos on October 5th, 2017 6:02 pm

    Thank you for the interview it’s such a great article and I enjoyed reading it it’s almost like I was getting interviewed a second time!!.

    [Reply]

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Baby Steps: Turning Heads and Earning Respect with Carlos Santos