MURRAY—The Murray State Track & Field and Cross Country program will have two student-athletes competing in Spain’s U23 Track & Field Outdoor Nationals in June.
Sophomores Lucia Herrero-Yanez from Valladolid and Jorge Ruiz, a native of Galizano have both qualified for the National Outdoor Track & Field Championships in multiple events, which will take place on the southern coast of Spain in Nejra June 19-20.
Herrero-Yanez has qualified for the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash and the 400 meter dash in both the U23 and the Overall division while Ruiz qualified for the U23 5K and 10K races.
Herrero-Yanez’s time of 11.92 in the 100 meters, which she set at SEMO’s Joey Haines Invite, is not only second in the U23 division but fourth overall in the country.
In the 200 meter dash, Herrero-Yanez’s time of 24.82, set at Vanderbilt’s Black and Gold Invitational, places her fifth in the U23 division and 13th in the overall.
Finally, Herrero-Yanez’s 56.15 in the 400 meter is second in U23 and 13th overall in Spain’s national rankings.
After being sidelined by injury in 2020, LuLu, as she’s known by teammates, has continued to improve and become a vital member to the team. She is the third leg in the 4 x 100, the relay that has broke the school record two times so far this season and is currently ranked 33rd in the NCAA DI East Region.
She has shaved 37 hundredths of a second off her 100m time, 15 hundredths off her 200m time and a full second, 1.03, off her 400m time this season.
“This year I surprised myself. I go to the track meets really relaxed. I didn’t expect all these PRs from all my events in 400m, 100m, and200m. I have the school record in the 4x100, we are first in the OVC in the 4x400m,” said Herrero-Yanez.
Ruiz is currently ranked 11th for both the 5K and the 10K in the U23 division with times of 14:55 and 31:27, respectively. He will run only the 5K as the 10K race was held in March while Ruiz was here in Murray competing for the Racers.
Ruiz is in his first season with Murray State after transferring from North Iowa Area Community College.
During his time at North Iowa Area CC, Ruiz was a member on the team that won the 2020 NJCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country Championships.
He was also named a NJCAA Division II Second-Team All-American and a USTFCCCA All-American.
“Coming from a junior college to a DI university is huge. I was one of the top guys in every race and here you have to work to be in that front pack or at least in the second pack,” said Ruiz.
Jorge has earned his associate’s degree and is now working towards his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. On the cross country course, he has his sights on breaking Murray State’s 8K record.
“One of my family friends went here and me is was a great school for engineering and I wanted to run Division I. The stadium and all the facilities were really big. I made a good choice,” said Ruiz.
LuLu is a marketing major and on the track, she wants to help the Racers win an OVC Championship as a team and as an individual.
“It’s a big goal but if I keep going, if I keep working, I think I can do it,” said Herrero-Yanez.
While Jorge and LuLu are still early in their collegiate careers at Murray State, they both think they made the right choice of school.
“I’m really happy in this place. People ask me if this is the right place and I say yes, one hundred percent,” said Herrero-Yanez. n