Running the 5,000-meter, Pima Community College sophomore Caleb Herrera recently represented his school at nationals in Hutchinson, Kan. where he finished in 15th place.
Herrera started running his freshmen year at Pusch Ridge High School on the cross-country team for the sole purpose of getting in shape for basketball. By his junior year, he began to realize his gift in running and decided to go out for track and field as well.
“I guess it was that year that I started taking running seriously,” said Herrera. “I realized that it was something that if I worked hard at I could be good at.”
There was no doubt that Herrera worked hard the last two years of high school as he ended up running for the cross country team at Pima Community College his freshmen year. There he focused on running the 8,000-meter where he became one of the leading runners on the team.
“Coming from Pusch Ridge I was one of the top runners so coming here I had to work for it more,” said Herrera. “I was able to finish fourth and fifth for our team throughout the season and then first out of our team in nationals, which was cool because it showed that my hard work paid off.”
After cross country, Herrera started conditioning for the track and field season, but that came to an abrupt stop after injuring his knee. Herrera’s injury led him to sitting out that track and field season as well as cross country his sophomore year.
“The injury was a big hump to overcome,” said Herrera. “I thought it would just go away but it didn’t. I learned that there were things I had to do to not get hurt like daily doing physical therapy even when I started to run again.”
Herrera’s injury healed up in time for him to do track and field this season where he ran the 5,000 and 1,500-meter runs. At the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Central meet in March, Herrera placed 13th in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:13.79. In the same month, he also competed in the Willie Williams Classic where he got a personal record of a 16:04.69 in his 5,000-meter race. At the end of the season Herrera made First Team All-ACCAC Conference in the 5,000-meter.
Throughout his running, Herrera says that he’s learned more than just becoming faster and improving athletically.
“At this point it’s a lifestyle and has taught me so many things,” said Herrera. “If you put your mind to something and it’s something you really believe and want to do, you can go do it.”
Herrera will attend Seattle University to continue running this fall.