By David Wilson
One of the men’s cross country team’s best runners, Mark Huizar, was born to win.
“The best thing about Mark is that he hates to lose,” said Teague Senninger, a fifth-year business student and fellow cross country runner. “That’s what this team needs, a guy who can’t stand to lose and who makes everyone else on the team fired up.”
Huizar, a fourth-year marketing student, has been one of the school’s most prolific runners since he joined the cross country team his freshman year. His journey as an elite runner started when he was a sophomore in his high school physical education class. He impressed the high school’s coaches when they saw him in a race against a former classmate, in which Huizar dominated.
He then was invited to track practice and immediately landed a spot on his high school team. Huizar’s high school coaches were not the only ones who quickly realized he had a chance to be a special athlete.
After committing to Cal Poly Pomona, one of the first people to notice Huizar’s gifted abilities his freshman year was assistant coach Wes Ashford. Ashford says one of the qualities that made Huizar stand out from the other runners was that he possessed a lot of determination and grit. Ashford also added that he thinks Huizar can rank amongst the top of CPP’s greatest all-time cross country runners when his career as a college athlete comes to an end.
Huizar says his mother, who was a runner in high school, played a big role in helping him get to where he is today. He says that he was not always interested in running, especially before high school, but after much encouragement and persuasion from his mom, Huizar joined his high school cross country and track teams. His mother still attends all of his races and continues to be a source of encouragement for Huizar today.
As gifted an athlete as Huizar is, he did admit that he never envisioned himself being a top collegiate runner when he was younger.
Before committing to cross country and track, Huizar played soccer and football. Instead of cross country and track, he thought he had a better chance at becoming a talented college football player when he got to college.
For Huizar, a sport such as cross country is both physical and mental.
Huizar said some of the mental aspects of his game involves praying before each race and going into each competition with the mindset that he must compete hard for his teammates because they do the same for him.
“Every year we keep developing a stronger team chemistry. Everyone has the same goals and aspirations, it’s just my job to show that I’m going to be out there for them every single time, and that’s kind of leading by example,” said Huizar.
Being one of the school’s top runners and having been to the national championships for three straight years can be demanding for any student athlete. Still, Huizar has stayed true to his work ethic as well as his preparation each year, and the results have shown for the Broncos, who are attempting to head to the national championships for a fourth straight year.
David Wilson / The Poly Post
Mark Huizar competing in the CCAA championships
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