Puget Sound Best

Northwest Prep Sports

Deaf runner found family, confidence on cross country team

As Xavier Prep cross country coach Aron Lyons stands in front of 49 of the valley’s fastest male runners before the second Desert Valley League cross country meet of the year, Shadow Hills (Calif.) senior Luis Fernandez looks off to the side.
Lyons preps the varsity runners on the course, instructs them to take two giant steps back from the line and sends out a shrill “BEEP” that will be used as the race’s starting signal.
With every other runner looking ahead with a focused stare or giving one last check of their shoes, Fernandez has his eyes locked on a member of his extended “team.”
Because when Lyons shrieks and the race officially begins, Fernandez will already be a fraction of a second behind the rest of the field until someone can sign to him from the sidelines and signal that the race has begun