Let’s take a tour of Brayden Borquez’s bruises. There’s one on his right shoulder. There’s another above his right hip. There’s a scab on his right knee. There’s a bruise on his pinky toe. There’s a bruise on his right ankle. He looks as if he has been appearing as a stunt double in State Farm TV commercials.
“It’s the life of a hurdler,” he confessed.
At 5 feet 11 and 145 pounds, the senior at Studio City Harvard-Westlake seems to be following the Julie Andrews inspirational quote, “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
Borquez was headed to victory in the 300-meters hurdles at the Arcadia Invitational this month when he fell on the eighth and final hurdle. Then, in a remarkable display of toughness, he crawled and thrust his chest across the finish line to earn third place.
“The only thing that came to my mind was how could I push myself off this ground and dive as close as I can to the finish line as quick as I could,” he said.
His two good friends on the baseball team, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Sam Hliboki, would probably give him high-fives for effort and attempting to slide head first to the finish line.
Three days later, despite his bruises, he went out and ran the 400 meters in 46.67 seconds during a dual meet against L.A. Loyola, the second-fastest time this season in California. That time is the same best high school mark by his future coach at USC, Quincy Watts, who went on to become an Olympic champion in the 400.
“It’s weird on the all-time California list we’d be tied,” Borquez said.
So now Borquez has dreams of winning state titles in the 300 hurdles and the 400, something Reggie Wyatt did in 2009 running for Riverside La Sierra.
“It opens a whole new light what I can do training for both,” he said.
Borquez spent most of his 18 years trying to run faster than his father, Anthony, who was a star at Mission Hills Alemany before going to USC. Borquez’s 400 time finally beat his father’s best high school time.
“I was stunned in a good way but I’ve never been surprised because I know what I can do,” Borquez said.
This week begins the final month of his high school career. The Mission League track and field finals are set for Wednesday at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Then comes the weekly grind of the Southern Section preliminaries and finals, the Masters Meet and state championships.
He was the Southern Section Division 3 champion in the 400 last season as a junior and finished second in the 300 hurdles but an injury left him unable to fulfill his state potential. He has been training all year to prevent injuries. He certainly knows how to run with bruises and doesn’t fear falling down.
“It was a weird feeling going into Arcadia thinking I’m going to do something great and then being on the verge and seeing it fall literally in front of your eyes,” he said.
But what a lesson he passed on to others. If you fall, you get back up — and do everything you can to finish the race.
Bruises or not, hurdles or not, there’s no quit in Borquez.
Finals at Dodger Stadium: The Southern Section announced that it will hold three divisional baseball championships on Saturday, May 18, at Dodger Stadium.