Humboldt State senior Daniel Tull surges toward the finish line for a 56th place result at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship at Arcade Creek Cross Country Course in Sacramento on November 23. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Tull Impresses at National Championships

HSU cross country runner Daniel Tull places 56th out of 267 competitors at the Division II National Championships in Sacramento.

HSU cross country runner Daniel Tull places 56th out of 267 competitors at the Division II National Championships in Sacramento

Humboldt State’s Daniel Tull’s long hair, iconic mustache and yellow headband made him easily identifiable in the field of over 250 runners who descended on the Arcade Creek Cross Country Course in Sacramento, CA for the 2019 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.

Tull was the only Lumberjack to feature in the 10K race, having been granted an at-large berth the week before due to his individual results over the season. He ran a strong finish to his season, placing 56th out of 267 competitors.

In the early stages of the race, Tull ran in the midfield at a quick pace, rolling through the first mile in 4:45. For the next two miles, he worked his way up the field, picking up positions regularly as he made his way into the top 100 runners by the halfway point.

Teammates and family members who made the trip to Sacramento to cheer him on dashed around the course encouraging him throughout the race. As the pack eased into a rhythm, Tull averaged 4:56 per mile to cross the 5K mark at 15:21.

“The first mile was pretty fast,” Tull said. “I was just placed too far back. I went too relaxed in the beginning, and then in the middle I kind of settled down.”

After his difficult start, Tull began to make more moves, storming his way through the field with a little more than two kilometers left to go. From there, Tull said that he felt comfortable to push as he noticed the guys around him slowing down. In that last stretch, he passed 40 runners to surge into his finishing position of 56th, only 16 places outside of All-American honors.

“With a mile and a quarter to go, I was like ‘Oh, it’s only 2K, I’ll send it,’” Tull said. “‘I’ll just start passing people one at a time.’ Everybody else was slowing down or staying at the same pace, so I started picking it up.”

Head Coach Jamey Harris was pleased with how Tull ran through his hard start and made progress through the latter stages of the race.

“Obviously the race went out fast,” Harris said. “He went through a rough patch in the middle. But he really turned it on and passed about 50 guys in the last couple of miles, so I thought it was a really solid performance. I think on his best day he was capable of getting that All-American certificate, but I was really pleased with the way he raced and the way he kind of fought through the bad patch and finished strong.”

In addition to his teammates, Tull’s father, Mel, came to the race to cheer his son on. Mel Tull said that the first time he realized how serious his son was about running came during his second year of high school.

“I never really knew how into it he was,” Mel Tull said. “Then I went to a cross country meet and he came over the mountain and he was running third. And I realized well, he apparently knows what he’s doing.”

After the race, Daniel Tull reflected on how special it was to end his collegiate cross country career at the national meet.

“I’m glad I finally made it here,” Daniel Tull said. “It was a goal of mine for a long time. The race was pretty massive. It feels cool to be part of something like this. Most races are fun and I like them and it’s good energy, but this is different energy for sure.”

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