For sophomore distance runner Daniel Herrera and his teammates on the distance medley relay team, a personal record was not good enough at the Notre Dame Last Chance meet.
Coming into the weekend, the UCLA team of Herrera, fellow sophomore Pete Lauderdale, and freshmen Ferdinand Edman and Nick Hartle held the nation’s seventh-best time after winning last week’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. However, the Bruins tumbled down to 19th this weekend despite setting a new personal record of 9 minutes, 35.36 seconds.
“We PR-ed by five seconds from MPSF where we won,” Herrera said. “The meet just had an insane amount of fast times, so we were just short of it and didn’t end up getting into the NCAA championships.”
Hartle echoed the same message of being proud of what the squad had accomplished and looking to the future instead of dwelling on what could have been.
“Every one of us ran a faster run in our part of the relay,” Hartle said. “We’re definitely looking forward to the next indoor season and even the outdoor season coming up. We now know how fast we all need to run and we were all able to work towards those goals.”
With two sophomores and two freshmen, the Bruins showcased the potential of a very young squad, which ran together for the very first time just a week ago at the MPSF.
“We’re not disappointed, but we’re hungry,” Herrera said. “We’re definitely going to look towards making it next year and towards making it the year after that. It’s motivation and something that we’re going to strive for the next few years.”
Running in a different Last Chance meet was sophomore hurdler Brea Buchanan, who sat tied in 27th in the 60-meter hurdles. With only the top 16 runners qualifying for the NCAA championships, Buchanan and coach Jeanette Bolden knew that it would take a huge personal record this weekend at Iowa State to qualify.
“In the semifinals, she ran 8.34; it was a good technical race,” Bolden said. “All she did before the finals was work on her start and she had a phenomenal race. A huge PR of 8.18.”
Buchanan’s personal record earned her an 11th place finish and a trip to the NCAA championships, where her coach has big expectations for the sophomore hurdler.
“The expectations are for her to get in there and make the finals because if she makes the finals, she’ll be able to score some points (for UCLA),” Bolden said. “Making the finals will be really big for her.”
The 60m hurdles were not the only event in which Buchanan set a personal record this weekend. After running the 60m, she also bested her time in the 200m (24.89), but it was not enough to get her into the NCAA championships for the event.
Similar to the young distance medley relay squad, Buchanan is only a sophomore.
“We’re a very young group,” Herrera said. “It’s not a disadvantage, it’s just a lot of potential for something really good for the years to come.”