A rare breed: Hermosillo runs with tough mentality; stands out as lone female Herder in 3,200-meter race

Eddie Poe photos
Yesi Hermosillo runs in the 3,200-meter race during the Dennis Zowada meet in Lusk on April 28. She is the only female to run in the event for the Herders. 

By: 
Eddie Poe eddie@glenrockind.com

In track and field, distance runners often place themselves in their own category. More accurately -- they’re a breed of their own.
Take for instance, the 3,200-meter run. Eight laps around the track, four left turns per lap and an exhausting 10 to 15 minutes of the same aches and pains over and over again.
On race days, Yesi Hermosillo is the lone female on the Herders track and field team to embark on the two-mile journey.
“All of the events have their own level of difficulty,” Hermosillo said. “With the 3,200, it’s one of those events that can last 15 minutes rather than 15 or 40 seconds and you’re done. It’s eight laps around the track and that in itself is what makes it so challenging.”
This year is Hermosillo’s second season competing in the event. After running the 5K in cross country during her sophomore season, she decided to take on the event in track and field.
Along with the two-mile race, she throws shot put and also competes in a number of different relays for Glenrock. She agrees that she’s a bit crazy for running the 3,200 but recognizes that it’s far from a glamorous event.
“It’s hard because it’s one of those events where not a lot of people notice that you’re running it,” she said.  “The 4-by-400 relay, for example, is one of those events where everyone gathers around the track and cheers them on.”
That’s really what sets two-milers apart from their teammates.
When running, Hermosillo has nearly 15 minutes to herself to think throughout the course of the race. It can be difficult to keep a concentrated focus during that time when the body is breaking down and each lap becomes tougher than the one before it.
Some runners break the eight laps down into smaller races. Others focus on running at a similar pace as their teammates, as if to challenge one another. For Hermosillo, being the only female Herder to run the event, she uses a different mindset.
“Once I step up to the starting line I just kind’ve tell myself to calm down and try to find a girl that’s about the same pace that I start off with,” Hermosillo said. “After that I just focus on the person ahead of me. It’s one of those things where that’s what I walk into.”
The 3,200 is an event where pack running is often the key. This is especially true for teams that have a strong stable of distance runners. It’s typically easier to keep pace when you’re running with someone familiar, as opposed to being in Hermosillo’s shoes.
When she isn’t focused on the race and the runners in front of her, she’ll simply keep a count of laps and it’s often what pushes her. But only when her thoughts aren’t forcing her away from the race.
“So much of it is mental,” Hermosillo said. I’ll start thinking, ‘oh I’m really tired or it’s really hot or I really need a drink of water,’ but once that happens, I just try to snap myself out of it and focus on running my race.”
Last weekend at the SEWAC Conference meet in Glenrock, Hermosillo ran a personal best in the 3,200 with a time of 14:38.04. Her season best last year clocked in at 15:21.88 and she’s improved her time this year by more than 20 seconds.
Unlike the shorter races where time is typically only shaved off in seconds or tenths of seconds, improvements are much more visible in longer distance events. On race days, Hermosillo is pushed to improve her times by a familiar voice.
“When I’m running I’ll hear a voice here and there but I’m mainly just looking for Kump,” she said, referring to coach Ray Kumpula. “He’s always telling me what’s going on and if I need to pick it up a little.”
The mental toughness that it takes to gut out the 3,200-meter run is seemingly what drives distance runners more than anything else.
There’s always a road block on the track and for Hermosillo, it comes at two points in the race.
“The third and eighth laps are the toughest points in the race for me,” Hermosillo said. “The third because you’re just finishing that first mile and that’s where you have to tell yourself to pick it up so you can keep up with the other distance runners. The eighth because you’re so close to the end... you’re practically dead by then and you’re like, ‘one more lap and you’re done.’”
There may not be a true secret to the two-mile endeavor but for Hermosillo, there’s honor in gutting it out on her own.

SEWAC MEET
The Herders welcomed a handful of schools to the track at Glenrock High School on Saturday for the SEWAC Conference meet.
Concluding a week of delightful spring weather, the sun shined brightly on spectators and competitors for the final regular season meet before regionals. At least a dozen Herders highlighted the affair, setting either personal or seasonal best times in a variety of events.
Katelyn Cathcart and Paige James set new personal bests in the 100-meter and 200-meter races, respectively. Cathcart finished in 14.64 (PR), placing fourth. James finished in 29.44 (PR), improving her time by nearly a second. In the 400-meter race, Annelise Clark broke the school record with a time of 1:01.64 (PR). She also finished the 300-meter hurdles in 50.74 (SR).
In the 4-by-400 relay, Cathcart, James, Abby Cerny and Aiyana Jaime earned a second place finish with a time of 4:35.70. On the field, Mikalah Jones took third in the shot put with a distance of 104 feet, 7.5 inches.
For the boys, Ian Arnold had himself quite an afternoon. He took first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.54 (PR). He also cleared a height of 11 feet, 7 inches (PR) in the pole vault, taking third. Then, in the 300-meter hurdles, Arnold finished in second with a time of 42.84 (SR).
Syler Fleck joined in the fun in the 1,600-meter race, finishing with a time of 5:26.15 (PR).
On the field, Brock Jones took second in the shot put with a distance of 44 feet, 3.5 inches and also took fourth in the discus throw with a toss of 127 feet, 8.5 inches (PR). In the long jump, Payton Steinmetz and Patrick Bruno both achieved personal bests. Steinmetz took third with a jump of 20 feet, 4 inches and now sits third in school history. Bruno took fifth with a leap of 19 feet, 6.5 inches.
Rounding things out for the Herders, Tucker Bopp placed first in the 100-meter, second in the 400-meter and third in the 200-meter. Along with Bruno, Steinmetz and Brysen Collier, he also helped the 4-by-100 relay team to a second place finish.

UP NEXT
Glenrock will make its way to Torrington on Friday and Saturday for the 2A East Regional Meet. The male Herders took second at last year’s meet.

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