Sprinting to the record book

Baron breaks the 2015 mile time record for BVH freshman


Monday, April 23, freshman Samuel Hernandez laces up his shoes. He is injured for the season but hopeful for a recovery by next season.


The sky was grey as the sun was hidden behind the ocean of thick clouds. It was a cool 61 degrees, but the tensions of elite competition provided the heat. One stride, one sprint and one breath at a time, each runner gave their all in hopes of being the first to reach the finish line. At the 16th annual Elmer Runge Track and Field Invitational held at West Hills High, Bonita Vista High (BVH) freshman Samuel Hernandez was no different, until his record-breaking finish.

Hernandez ran the 1600 meter (mile) faster than many varsity runners who had far more experience. Breaking the all time BVH record for freshman runners with a time of 4:38.39.

“It is really nice to break the school record. However, at the same time, it’s kind of scary because now I have a reputation and an expectation to go even further than what I’ve achieved,” Hernandez said.

The mile consists of four laps around the track, each lap draining the energy from those who run it. Varsity distance runner and senior Mario Barone shares the challenging technical aspects of the 1600 meter race.

“In the mile, the lactic acid [in the muscles] accumulates fast and lasts for a while. This makes it really difficult to maintain composure and speed which are crucial necessities when running the mile,” Barone said.

The previous record was set in 2015 by BVH alumni Isaiah Labra with a time of 4:40.10.  Labra now runs for the Mesa Community College Cross Country and Track and Field Teams. Potentially outpacing Labra’s footsteps, Hernandez’s recent accomplishment drew praise from Distance Coach Dan Kettlehake.

“I coached Samuel [Hernandez] for cross country, so I knew that he was going to be really good. He is a highly conditioned athlete,” Kettlehake said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s been hurt lately [with shin splints], we haven’t been able to do much in our practices. We aren’t going to see his full potential this year, but I’m certain we will see it in the upcoming seasons.”

Furthermore, in order to break the record and perform at the a high level, Hernandez has learned to cope with the pressures and anxiety of high level competition.

“I get nervous all the time, but that’s just natural. If you’re scared of something and you have a little bit of anxiety, then that just means that you care and I care a lot for the sport,” Hernandez said.

Much of Hernandez’s success is credited to the effort he puts in at practices. Varsity distance runner and senior Jonathan Kelly describes the work ethic exhibited by Hernandez.

“He knows he’s good, which is great because you need confidence to be a great runner. That confidence comes from putting all the work necessary to be great which entails doing the workouts, stretching, paying close attention to your diet and much more,” Kelly said. “Samuel does all of that while remaining humble.”

Hernandez’s performance was not left unnoticed by his teammates, who praised his commitment, effort and focus.

“He’s very dedicated and hardworking; I am happy that I could be a part of his first year of running. The fact that he’s running my sophomore [times] as a freshman is amazing. I just can’t wait to watch him grow and succeed,” Barone said.

Thrilled with breaking a record, Hernandez hopes to build off of his momentum for even more success leading into the next season. To accomplish such, he has outlined his training plans which begin this summer.

“During summer break I really want to work out with the kids that also set records and ran good times. BVH alumni are going to meet up with me so I can run with them. Hopefully, next year after some improvement, I can run a time of 4:26 and qualify for the Arcadia Invitational,” Hernandez said.

Teammates acknowledged that Hernandez’s record breaking dash would likely be the first of many. Hernandez is not the only person excited for his future as his coach details the extent of his potential.

“If he’s healthy, he will definately be one of our top runners, especially in the South Bay. I think his potential is unlimited as he gets stronger, as he gets more mileage and as he gains more experience,” Kettlehake said.