Socorro senior track athlete Jordan Armijo, left, taking the baton from Adrian Jackson in the 4X200 during the recent Class 3A state track and field championships.
Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain

Although Socorro senior Jordan Armijo had some small-school football programs interested in his talents as a running back, at 5-foot, 5-inches, 145 pounds he realized that discretion was the better part of valor.

So when D-II Tiffin University offered a track and field scholarship package that made it affordable to attend the private college not all that far from Lake Erie, Armijo jumped at the chance.

“I was originally getting recruited to some D-3 schools for football, but as track season progressed and I was having some success, coach (Omar) Lane saw some of my times and he was interested and he reached out and we were able to make something happen.”

It certainly makes sense as the sprinter clocked an 11.17-second time to win the 100-meter dash, anchored the Warriors’ 4X100 relay team that won gold and anchored the 4X200 that took silver

“I never had thought of doing track instead of football,” Armijo said. “At some of the schools, they thought I might be doing both, but I never thought about getting rid of football completely.”

Armijo led the Warriors to a 10-2 record and the No. 2 seed in football where they lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Robertson.

And if he still has a football itch, “they are very open allowing me to walk on in football,” Armijo said.

But his main focus became track once Tiffin came calling. He will be signing his official letter of intent Friday in the school’s gym.

“I just think track is competition in its purest form and has been since the dawn of time,” he said. “Who can run faster, jump higher, throw further.”

And he couldn’t have asked for a better spot to show off his talents.

“The school checked a lot of boxes that we were looking for,” Armijo said. “The track scholarship helped put a good package together to make it affordable and I really like the coaching staff at Tiffin. It seemed like the right choice.”

Although he has not gotten a chance to visit the school near Sandusky River, “I’ve done virtual tours,” he said. “It does look beautiful and there’s some water surrounding it.”

What’s more, “they’re really nice athletic facilities,” Armijo said. “It’s one of the only schools that has its own indoor track. It has a real open weight room, basically just windows.”

In addition, Tiffin is strong in the areas that he wants to study in computer science and software development.

“I’ve been real interested in computers since I was little,” Armijo said. “I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to study computers and it seems like a pretty good program.”

Track coach Cody Lee said Armijo is the first runner from Socorro that he can recall earning a college scholarship in quite some time.

And it is quite a coup for both Armijo and the Warriors program.

“It’s real exciting,” Lee said. “It came as kind of a surprise. I know he was being recruited to play football but not too many kids are going to pick track over football. When I learned he had decided to run track, I was very proud of him.”

Lee knew the first time he saw Armijo that there was gold lurking in that small frame.

“When he was in 8th grade, I knew he had all tools and talent to be a multi-talented athlete,” he said.

Although Lee left the program for several years, it was no surprise that when he returned, Armijo had become just that.

“He’s a worker,” the coach said. “Not only does he have the talent, he’s the most athletic and he’s the hardest working kid. He truly is going to be missed. He’s the full package.”

That actually can be attributed to his size, Armijo said.

“I’m doing everything with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “Of course, I’m a smaller athlete, so I’m always being doubted from the beginning. Hard work is really all I have as a smaller athlete.”

If there is one drawback, it’s being away from the only home he’s known in Socorro, but that will be part of the adventure.

“I think it’s going to be really awesome, get out and see the world a little bit outside of our little hometown of Socorro,” he said, adding he may need to rely on food shipments from home. “We’re going to have to ship some chile over.”

Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain