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Avena brothers ready to run against each other at regionals

Posted Date: 04/18/2024

Avena brothers ready to run against each other at regionals

The 400-meter dash is not an event for the weak-hearted. It is an all-out sprint for 400 meters with no opportunity to catch your breath. This season in Laredo, no one does it better than Sebastian and Esteban Avena who are regarded as the No. 1 and No. 2 400-meter runners in the city.

“Running for LBJ, there has always been a sense of an underdog mentality,” Sebastian said. “We are a hardworking team. We don’t see track as the main sport and focus on other sports, so we have always had to work a little harder to take advantage of the talent that we have at LBJ. It has been great because we have great coaches and athletes.”

“At Alexander there is a very high standard,” Esteban said. “A lot of teams want to be in our position, and every year we are expected to compete for a district title and if we do not win district it is a letdown, so we train hard every day. Alexander is a very history-rich program with a lot of good runners in the past.”

Running is in their blood, and the love for track and field comes from their mother Elena who ran for Mexico and was the national champion in the 400-meter dash. Elena also ran the 4x400-meter relays with former Mexican 400-meter relay specialist Ana Guevara who went on to represent her country at the 2000 Olympics in Australia.

Elena passed on that determination to her sons who went 1-2 at the District 30-6A meet and earned a spot at the area meet. Sebastian edged out his younger brother to win gold as Esteban placed second.

The Avena brothers run for different programs as Sebastian suits up for LBJ High School and Esteban runs for Alexander High School. Sebastian is part of LBJ’s Early College program. He is set to graduate this year with 60 college hours and is ranked No. 3 in his graduating class, while Esteban is a sophomore at Alexander.

Each Avena brother relishes the opportunity to run for their respective programs and give 100% every time that they touch the line proudly wearing their school colors.

The Avena brothers also fared well at the 29-30 6A Area Meet in San Antonio. Esteban placed second (50.17) while Sebastian placed third (50.28) to earn a regional berth. They will be running on Friday at the Region IV-6A Track and Field Championships at Heroes Stadium.

Last year the Avena brothers never had the opportunity to run against each other despite running the same event. Finally, this season they had the opportunity to run in the same event in the first home meet of the season.

The first time that the Avena brothers ran the 400-meter dash against each other was early in the season at the City Meet on Feb 9. The experienced Sebastian edged out Esteban, but it was their mom in the stands that had her stress levels high.

“I don’t like for them to run against each other,” Elena said. “I prefer if they run different events, but they both want to run the 400. I want for Esteban to run the 800-meter dash and Sebastian the 200-meter dash. I am very proud the way that they have grown as runners and gotten better over the years. I get very nervous when they are running against each other.”

Elena continues to utilize her connections in Mexico to help train her sons. Her former Mexican national coach Raul Barrera has been putting together workouts for the Avena brothers who train in the offseason with him.

“I love how sports helps my sons like it helped me when I ran,” Elena said. “One day I would love them to represent Mexico or the United States in competition. This past summer they both trained in Mexico and did well, so we are hoping to continue training.”