“My teammates from high school are like, ‘What happened, man?’” senior middle distance runner Cristian Soratos said about his recent successes in running. Soratos hails from Selinas, California, where he picked up track as a freshman and cross country as a sophomore, for fun. Fast forward to his 2015 collegiate indoor track season when he held the fastest collegiate mile time (3:55.27) this season and then travelled to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the NCAA National Indoor Championships on March 13-14. He took second with a time of 3:59.86 in his mile race to University of Oregon’s Edward Cheserek.
“My ultimate goal was to win … I can’t really be disappointed with how I ran and who I lost to. I’ve never been more tired after a race in my life,” Soratos recalled. “I was pretty happy with how I ran. I am proud of the courage I had to really go for it in the middle of the race.”
His collegiate career didn’t start at Montana State. He first attended Hartnell Junior College in Salinas before transferring to Bozeman his sophomore year. His connection to MSU was spurred by a former Bobcat and coach he had at Hartnell. Soratos now studies kinesiology with a minor in coaching and dreams of becoming a professional runner and possibly a coach for a division one team.
“Becoming professional is a true dream of mine. To be able to do what I love and make a living off of it, that’s amazing! Who wouldn’t want that?” he said.
In the mean time, Soratos is enjoying his time on the team surrounded by a strong support system. He emphasized that although track seems individual based, every time, spot and athlete matters. “It’s all about helping each other and pushing each other,” he said. He added that he credits a lot of what has been able to do to his teammates. One memory in particular exemplifies the inspiration he draws from his track family.
“My teammate Keely West got second in the 5k at Conference this season. She has had so many injuries and it’s just amazing to me that she is still even running and trying. You never know what could happen if you don’t give up. Her race was one of the most inspiring races I’ve ever seen.”
As he sets his sights on the outdoor season ahead, Soratos hopes to get to the championships for the outdoor season and snag a title for the 1,500m. “Now that I’ve raced a gutsy race, I know how to race a little bit smarter. My main goal is to win, and then two weeks later I’ll compete at the USA championships.”
As he speaks of these upcoming races, Soratos notes that he was an average runner in high school. He wasn’t recruited out of high school and viewed running as something to do because he liked it. “It just kind of goes to show that as long as you work hard and do what you love, it can go so far,” he said.
Watch for Soratos on the track this season with his tall Sonic socks and pre-race Sour Patch fuel. The team’s first meet was March 27-28 in Missoula, and the next one is the Montana State Relays in Bozeman on April 2-4.