Marble Falls, Texas native Leonel Manzano joined the Texas track and field team in August, 2004, and has already seen the difference working with the coaches and facilities at Texas can make. In his first race as a Longhorn, Manzano won the 1,000 meters at the Father Diamond Invitational in Fairfax, Va., but he doesn't want to stop there. Manzano stepped Off the Track with TexasSports.com to discuss his transition to college, Texas and his goals for the future.
On wearing the Texas uniform: It is just a really exciting experience to be able to compete for Texas. Being from nearby Marble Falls, I've received a great deal of support from people in my hometown, which has really helped as I get used to being at Texas.
On the facilities: The facilities are awesome. I've never been able to train at a place that had everything I needed, so I'm just going to try and take advantage of it. My times have been decreasing like crazy. I know the facilities have played a part in it, so I'm just going to keep using them and hopefully my times will continue to drop.
On his events: I'll probably try to contribute in the 800 meters, the 1,000 meters and the mile. I'll probably get to run each of those events twice throughout the course of the season. I just hope that when the championship meets come around that I'm ready and I can help this team win by running well in any of those three events.
On his first meet: I was excited to finally start racing and performing. It's been a long time since I ran an actual race. At the same time, I was really nervous before the start because I didn't know what to expect. I think the nervous energy helped me perform the way I did, along with the training that we've been doing.
On the trip to Washington, D.C.: It was a neat trip. We went to the Lincoln Memorial and took pictures there. Then, we went to the Vietnam Memorial and on to the White House. The day after the race, we got to go to the Smithsonian and the National Air & Space Museum, so it was a great trip. I had never been there before, so it was a cool experience.
On distance coach Jason Vigilante: First off, coach Vigilante is an awesome guy, but he is a great coach as well. He's been in the business for a while so he knows what he's doing. In my experience, I've been through a lot of coaches, so, if everything goes right, this will be the first time that I am coached by the same guy for an extended period of time. I think that stability will really help my performance.
On transitioning to college: At first, it was kind of difficult, but I've gotten some great help. The academic people have been great and I've tried to use the study hours to help myself as well. I ended the semester in really good shape, and I'm excited to get started with the next semester.