Photo by FRANK TILLEY/FTILLEY@VICAD.COM

Cuero's Monte Green-Avery has qualified for the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Class 3A state meet despite running with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

CUERO - Buster Hansel could see his chance of running at the UIL State Track and Field Championships slipping away while lying on the training table at the Corpus Christi Calallen track.

Monte Green-Avery had a similar vision when he felt a pain in his right knee during the Jack Adcock Gobbler Relays.

It does make you appreciate how much you can lose in a matter of minutes, Hansel said.

Hansel lost his lunch after suffering from a stomach virus and Green-Avery tore his meniscus, but the injuries didn't stop the Cuero seniors from qualifying for the Class 3A meet on Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

Green-Avery won the 100-meter dash and finished second in the 200 at the Region IV-3A meet. Hansel won the 1,600 a day after collapsing on the track after finishing fifth in the 3,200.

Green-Avery will be making his third appearance at the state meet, and Hansel will be going to state for the second time.

I didn't think Buster could go but he had enough energy to win the mile, said Cuero coach Victor Mathis. When you're young, I guess you heal fast.

I know Monte has overcome a lot of injuries from the eighth grade to the 10th grade to this year. He has a lot of determination.

Green-Avery's first appearance at the state meet came less than two years after he had broken the growth plate in his left leg.

He won a pair of gold medals, as a freshman by running the lead leg in the 400 and 800 relays. He received a ring when the Gobblers won the team title.

People would say you're going to put a freshman to start, aren't you afraid of him jumping, Mathis recalled. I said the kid has run against competition all his life. He's been in bigger stadiums running in the nationals in Junior Olympics, which is huge.

Green-Avery broke his ankle in football as a sophomore and wasn't able to participate in track.

The injury flared up during his junior year, forcing him to withdraw from the 100 after the preliminaries at last year's regional meet. Green-Avery did advance to state in the long jump and won a bronze medal.

I was taking medication and the ankle was taped so I could fight through it, Green-Avery said.

Green-Avery decided to forego surgery and continued to run after tear in his meniscus was diagnosed in March.

I can feel it, but it's not anything that I can't handle, Green-Avery said. I always wanted to go to state in an open event and this year I finally get to do it. I'm going to make the best of it.

Green-Avery is seeded third in the 100 and fifth in the 200, but is determined to medal in both.

That's what I've been working on all week, he said. I've got to get out of the blocks to get out in front and hold the lead. It's all or nothing basically. I've got to go hard or go home.

Hansel doesn't want to leave Austin without a medal like he did last year in the 1,600 and 3,200.

One thing I learned is don't try to run in Lane 2 for eight laps. That was a killer, Hansel said. I guess I learned to be patient and let the race unfold as it goes along.

Hansel has come a long way since he began running and comes into the meet seeded second in the 1,600.

When I was a freshman, I really wasn't competing, Hansel said. I was just going out and doing it. Over the years, it's gotten to be more of a fun competition.

Hansel is looking forward to competing at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, while Green-Avery will play football at Abilene Christian.

But neither wants to leave Cuero without some extra hardware.

I got one in cross country so I might as well get one in track season, Hansel said. You always want to do your best because it makes Cuero look better. It will make the team look better and make us look better.

NOTES: Cuero's Abby Sheppard qualified for the state meet as the top seed in the 300 hurdles after setting a Region IV-3A record. But when asked about the race, most people want to know if she was hurt when she did a somersault after crossing the finish line.

That was all I could do to keep from falling and hurting myself, said Sheppard, who credited her cheerleading experience for her agility.

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.