The best distance runner in the area is a musician, gardener and scout

Antonio Camacho Bucks wants you to know he has a life outside of running. The centenarian is hoping to become an Eagle Scout before his 18th birthday in January. Last summer, he spent ten days living out of a sailboat alongside fellow Scouts. And recently, he rebuilt an entire camp for Cub Scouts when a storm swamped their tents.

He spends a lot of time camping with others in the Scout Troop 944, but he admits that his attention sometimes splits. By 6 a.m., he may need to head to cross-country training.

“Pretty much everything I do is aimed at running, and that’s pretty much every day of my life,” Camacho Bucks said. But it is important to maintain your balance. That’s something my mom really encourages.”

Now in his first season, the best boys’ cross country athlete has earned the state title, and college coaches are vying for his talent and a convincing claim to be the best high school distance runner in the area. On Saturday, athletes from over 100 schools will race across the Mid-Atlantic against the Camacho Bucks at the Oatlands Invitational. Many already know his name.

The Camacho Bucks have always been fast. It took a while for people to find out it was like this.

Jose Camacho and Christa Pax-Camacho knew their son’s strength had to go somewhere. And sure, Antonio has always been a much better runner than his peers, but not in the ways that suggest he’s been going 75 miles a week. At football matches, when the other kids were begging for substitutions, Camacho Bucks would leave the field with more energy than when he arrived.

In the fifth row, in the middle of a snowstorm, crackling.

“I was trying to make provisions for the electricity and my son was like, ‘Mom, I need to run,'” Krista said. He said: I will be back in 30 minutes. So he runs, comes home and asks, “Mom, can I do this again?” I was just like, Antonio, I hate to tell you this, but you can’t run in a snowstorm. “

Later that year, he won the local 5km — not just in his age group, but all of them. At the beginning of his freshman year, the Camacho Bucks began to take the sport very seriously.

“I was always one of the fastest guys in the class,” Camacho Bucks said. “I thought I’d give it a chance.”

He quickly had a résumé that rivaled his older peers, and capped his first cross-country season with a sixth-place finish at the Maryland State 3A meet (no fresh kid in the 2010s finished in the top ten of a 3A or 4A state meet).

He’s so wonderful to work with, and he’s a fantastic student at the sport,” said Centennial coach Kevin McCoy. “I myself am a massive running addict…and he is on the same streak as me. We just have great conversations every Monday, and it’s not just about how we run, but about how to have some college meetings where he found a way to hack off the internet.”

By his freshman year, Camacho Bucks seemed inevitable. He beat the local runners in all but one of the cross-country meet, the Eastern District 3A Championship, and defeated the same contender by 18 seconds for the state title later that month.

He credits his work ethic to his mother — “I always told him there was a reason to get up in the morning,” she said — who works long hours for the Social Security Administration, and his father, who runs a small landscaping business in Ellicott City.

But would you like to embrace relationships and activities outside of running? She was present. But it wasn’t nearly that strong.

That changed in February, when his grandmother died unexpectedly. The eldest was always close to his grandparents, and he felt heavy during the spring season. When he was driving to practice, the presence that often sat in the gun seat wasn’t there. When he came home from the YMCA, his grandmother’s enchiladas could no longer fill his stomach. And the way she showed her love – rarely in words but in her presence – was absent.

“She’s been such a big part of our family, she’s come to my races, she’s come into everything – it’s been a huge blow to our family,” he said. “She was just a huge, big character.”

Now, Camacho Bucks’ passion extends beyond the sports he often dominates. Later this year, he will play on euphonium at a local show, where he will appear alongside a 90-year-old man who was friends with his grandmother. He plans to continue the brass instrument through college. Newly started gardening, he set up a drip irrigation system along with his grandfather to make it easier for him to water his plants. He continues to make time to explore.

However, there are times when Camacho Bucks can’t help himself. Cross-country remains a staple on his mind. He admits that his love for swimming allows him to “wash away” the blood and dirt that accumulates on his legs while running. His father remembers that when a flight was delayed last year, Camacho Bucks came back through security and mapped the 10 miles around the airport. Even watching movies with his father turned into an opportunity for development.

“I made a little massage table in my living room, and yes, I find myself watching Netflix and doing stretching and cupping,” Camacho Backs said. “I just love the lack of limitations, being able to push myself, and seeing how cool I can be.”

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