Humboldt State runners get off on the right foot with a resounding win
The Lumberjacks kicked off their cross country season Friday, running a commanding full team effort at home for the Humboldt Invite. The race took place at the Baywood Golf Course and Country Club which offers very little flat ground for the runners. This seemed to suit the Jacks just fine as they recorded individual and team wins in the women’s and men’s races, respectively.
The women’s team finished the afternoon with 26 points, comfortably outscoring the next best team, Oregon Tech, who earned 46 points. The strong points production came to the Jacks courtesy of five top 10 placements. The consistency of this women’s team was accomplished in part by the runners working together in small groups to pull each other up the standings.
An easy standout performer from the women’s race was freshman runner Hannah Hartwell, who won her first race for Humboldt State by a margin of 30-seconds from the Oregon Tech runner up Delani Dietrich.
Hartwell jumped out into the lead of the race early on, working with fellow freshman Lucy Atkinson to extend a gap on the chasing athletes. As the race progressed, Hartwell was able to pull away from her teammate and ran by herself for much of the 6K distance.
Despite not having the benefit of working with somebody for a majority of the race, Hartwell was able to close out the competition and get the first win of the season for the Jacks.
“It was cool to win,” Hartwell said. “I’m stoked that I won. I think that it will be really fun to get back into competing again.”
With a winning performance from the women, the men’s team hit the course and didn’t miss a beat, placing six runners in the top 10 to finish with 20 points on second-place Menlo College who earned 51 points. With strong performances all around for the men, it was race-winning senior Daniel Tull who stood out.
Tull finished 39 seconds ahead of the next runner to cross the line, Benjamin Ronoh of Menlo College. Ronoh was followed to the line by four more successive Humboldt runners who solidified the overwhelming team win.
Tull was happy to have crossed the line first for the Jacks and was also quick to point out positive overall performance from the team.
“I know our whole team has had a really good summer of training,” Tull said. “We’re all fit, we’re all strong, and we’re all having fun out there doing it. If you look at these guys, they’re all smiling and laughing even though they just ran five miles fairly hard, so that’s what you want to see.”
Head Coach Jamey Harris was also pleased with the team’s performance, saying that it proved the depth of the team from new recruits and returning athletes. Along with training for racing in groups, Harris pointed to the bond between teammates as a key to their win and the future.
“We’ve done a lot of running together,” Harris said. “But also they just come together. It’s a really well-united team. The team chemistry is fantastic, and obviously, that impacts everything in a positive way.”
The Jacks will have some time to recover and keep improving before heading to the Sundowner Invitational in Monmouth, Oregon on September 20. The team and its competition will also return to Humboldt on October 26 for the CCAA Championships.