Daniel Hurt is on Track for a Winning Running Career

Jae Yoo
El Vaquero Sports Writer

With spiky red hair and a love of pizza and alternative/metal music, Daniel Hurt appears at first glance like an normal college sophomore. He is anything but that.

At 19, Hurt is one of the country’s top 800-meter runners among community college athletes.

After winning the United States Community College Track and Field Elite Meet in Chula Vista at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista on March 24, he has deservingly earned the title of All-American.

“I want to break some school records,” Hurt said of his personal goals, one of which is to overtake the 800-meter mark (1:49.57) that was set in 1995 by his own brother-in-law, Glendale alum Isaac Turner.

Hurt, who is a recent recipient of the Richard W. Tang Memorial Scholarship from GCC, inched closer towards his goal on Friday when he won the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational with a personal best of 1:53.43.

“He’s a competitor,” said track and field coach Tom McMurray. “He has the fastest time in Southern California, and he has a chance to win the state championships if he stays healthy.”

Be assured that Hurt does not carry a vendetta against Turner, who is married to Hurt’s sister Ivonne Cardenas, also a former GCC runner. He has the utmost respect for his brother-in-law, whom he considers his role model.

“I could respect the guy for everything he does,” said Hurt. “He’s told me not to give up and I’ve taken that to heart ever since.”

His love for the sport didn’t start until his junior year at Cathedral High, where he earned the title of Most Valuable Runner and team captain his senior year. Although establishing himself as a star athlete there, Hurt showed no signs of complacence after graduation.

“Competing at the collegiate level is a big challenge,” said Hurt, who is the team captain again this year, “Because I wasn’t that good coming out of high school.”

Hurt, who is nominated for Male Athlete of the Year, pays respect to his teachers, cross-country coach Eddie Lopez and coach McMurray.

“Thanks to the expertise of my coaches my talent has really blossomed,” said Hurt.

It was Hurt’s determination, his training during spring breaks, and his resilience from tendinitis last season that has brought him back to the forefront as one of the greatest 800-meter runners GCC has ever seen. He has been undefeated so far this year in meets among community college athletes.

Hardly the stereotypical jock, Hurt, who plays guitar for a hobby, gives back what he has learned in the classroom by going back to Cathedral High each summer to tutor pre-calculus and second-year algebra.

Enrolled in 14.5 units at GCC, he maintains a 3.0 GPA. He hopes to transfer to either USC or UCLA and continue to run competitively.

“His grades are good, and his SAT score is high,” said coach McMurray. “He has a good chance of getting a scholarship.”

Ultimately, Hurt, who prays before each run, dreams of making it to the Olympics, a goal which is not unrealistic.

“Lord,” he prays. “Please help me bring home the gold one day.”