For The Madera Tribune
Former Madera South cross country runner Eduardo “Lalo” Herrera earned second team All-American honors at the NCAA National Championships in the 1,500 meter run.
The 2019 NCAA National Championships is over for the Colorado men’s track and field program, finishing the final day with a pair of second team All-Americans.
Both Eduardo Herrera (Madera South) and John Dressel secured second team All-American honors after finishing between ninth and 16th in their events. That is Dressel’s second honor of the meet after he and Ryan Forsyth had top-16 finishes in the 10,000.
“Everything was kind of unexpected and I just wanted to make the Nationals. It was crazy,” Herrera said. “I wasn’t supposed to run at regionals and went with the flow. I was kind of late to the season because I was dealing with an injury. It took me half the season to get better.”
Herrera kicked things off in the final of the 1,500-meter run. The sophomore settled into eighth in the first 300, crossing the first quarter in 58 seconds. The pace slowed down as the 12 runners crossed the 800 mark in 2:01. Herrera held onto an All-American finishing position for another 100 meters before the pace began to quicken again. He dropped back to 11th with 500 meters left and finished the race in 3:46.27 for 12th overall.
“I think I was fresher at the end of the year because I didn’t have as many races at that time,” Herrera said. “I would have preferred to run a lot than coming with a little.”
It was an incredible month for Herrera. The sophomore didn’t know if he was going to be accepted into the NCAA West Preliminaries but made it in after being in the 60s in the descending order list after athletes scratched. Herrera qualified into the finals at the prelims and then had a show where he came off the curve and cut down the field for a second-place finish that sent him to nationals. After he ran the seventh-best time in the second heat that was faster than the entire first heat, Herrera went from not knowing if his season was over to second team All-American.
“Towards the championship races, I started getting better,” Herrera said. “It was a tough season. I was ranked No. 68 heading into the Regionals. Only 48 advance. I was hoping people dropped and I was the second-to-last to get in so I was lucky. My coach told me to have fun. I had the race of my life.”
Herrera hopes to have an even better junior season. He was hampered in cross country due to illness and then was late to track because of an inury.
“I am expecting a big junior year,” he said. “This year wasn’t great. I felt bad, but I had some illness in cross crounty so I should do better. I expect a bigger junior year if I keep working hard.”
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Information also provided by Colorado University sports information.