Espino Hopes to Run Circles Around Rivals

El Vaquero Staff Writer

In 6th grade most children had to run the mile for P.E class, one of the most dreaded memories of grade school. Most would crawl to the finish line of what most students would say was a pointless exercise, compare times and move on to team sports or video games.

But for Humberto Espino, who had just moved to the U.S from Mexico, that sixth grade mile run was the beginning of an expression. The way artists express their lives in their artwork, Espino runs with the focus and heart of an artist painting on a canvas.

He cannot recall his time in the mile in 6th grade, but says his best time lies around the 4:20 mark; most would struggle to meet that halfway. He’s used his talents on the field to become captain of the Vaqueros in his final season.

Espino is the youngest of four brothers in a single parent home, so his voice is the last to be heard and contributes to his shy demeanor. Opponents might be fooled by the seemingly cemented smile on his face and his carefree attitude, but when the race begins a transformation begins.

“I’d consider myself a calm and very friendly person,” Espino says with that signature grin. “But when the gun goes off, I’m totally aggressive and a different kind of guy.”

He attributes much of his strength and will to his mom, who he considers one of the strongest people he knows. As the only son who has attended college, Espino feels no pressure, because he knows he has the support of his family. Family always comes first and running is a close second.

Espino’s goal is to transfer to any university and continue running, because it dominates his thoughts.

“My main goal is to transfer and run for a school,” Espino says. “I want to go somewhere local though, so I can stay close to the family.”
Who can blame him; he won three consecutive MVP awards on both his cross country and track and field teams at Franklin High in Highland Park.

He also played volleyball for the varsity team and considers it his second favorite sport, although he is not allowed to play now due to risk of injury. Espino spends too much time running to worry about any other sports anyway.

With a workout regimen that would make the best athletes look like coach potatoes, Espino trains for a handful of different events and says he runs everyday rain or shine. Running is more than a sport to him, he even parallels it to eating. Something a person needs daily in order to survive.

“He’s the most versatile athlete on the team,” head coach Eddie Lopez says. “No one has the range he does.”

Espino’s expertise lies in the 3000k steeplechase, considered by many to be the most difficult.

A steeplechase is a race in which runners must clear hurdles and water jumps. Espino has high hopes, but remains grounded by training vigorously.

Espino almost lost what came naturally to him, one of his scariest moments came early this season when he hurt his left knee and couldn’t run for a week.

“I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run at all this season.” Espino recalls. Injuries are a risk every athlete risks and Espino doesn’t worry about it, because as most teenagers, he considers himself invincible.

Espino also runs for the freedom it allows and the effects it has on his life.”Running helps me get rid of the stress from home and school.” Espino says.

Espino has high hopes for his final year at GCC and hopes to help his team compete better and improve its overall performance.

His insatiable hunger for the sport can only be quenched by running a little more and winning some races.

“You have to run everyday if you want to stay competitive.” Espino says. ” I really want to be the state champion of the (3,000m) steeplechase and I think I can do it.”

Some run away from their goals, but Espino runs with unmatched intensity towards them.