by Jake Knoeller
Originally printed April 26, 2023
The Cal Poly Humboldt track team is having an impressive season this year, with their accomplishments ranging from broken records to nationally ranked squads.
“This season has been a breakthrough year for our program with several national provisional marks and national event squad rankings across multiple disciplines,” said junior 800 meter runner Julian Jensen.
The most recent example of success for Humboldt was their last regular season meet this year, the Raider Invite at Southern Oregon University up in Ashland, Oregon.
Joy Hano broke a school record for the women that had been held for 33 years during one of the Southern California meets from the weekend before. Hano ran the 100m hurdles in 13.96 seconds. The record was previously a 14.06 run by Clara Trigg.
Another notable trend for the Lumberjacks recently has been the success of their men’s 800 meter squad, which is currently nationally ranked. 800 meters is almost half of a mile, which means the runners need to have endurance and speed to stand out.
“We have four runners who specialize in the 800 and we have had a successful season so far,” said Jensen. “After the Humboldt Invitational, we were ranked third in the nation out of about 200 Division II schools with a four main average of 1:53.10.”
One of these runners is Aris Valerio, a junior who has mainly been focusing on the 800 and is currently sixth on the top ten all time list for Humboldt.
“Personally, I feel like I need to lead the middle distance guys,” said Valerio. “They are basically my sons at this point, and I’m holding their hands to continuing greatness in the 800.”
Valerio is two seconds away from breaking the 800 school record and is confident about what the future holds.
This squad has received praise from runners that take part in other events, including Carson Smith, a junior who is the fastest current 1500 meter and 5k runner at Humboldt.
“Our 1500 squad, along with our 800 squad, is really strong and really deep, so we have enough people that can focus on that event at our conference championships to secure us some points,” said Smith.
With great speed comes great responsibility and Humboldt runners take this in stride.
“When you’re fast, everyone kinda has to look at you, so to use that position and do my best to set a good example is something I really strive for,” said Smith. “It’s something I didn’t really have my first couple years.”
The Jacks will now carry their focus into CCAA conference championships and look for more success.
“This team has taken big steps into becoming a good team in the future,” said Valerio. “Last season we started something that is only getting better.”