After breaking 40-year record, Idaho miler Lorenz Hermann sets sights on sub-4 once he gets outdoors
Feb. 2, 2023 Updated Thu., Feb. 2, 2023 at 8:49 p.m.
MOSCOW, Idaho – In a matter of eight days in January, Lorenz Herrmann erased two of the most venerable University of Idaho track and field records.
On Jan. 20, at UI’s Lauren McCluskey Memorial Open, Herrmann eclipsed Idaho’s oldest mark, John Trott’s mile record of 4 minutes, 3.48 seconds set in 1982, when he won going away in 4:03.17. He got a congratulatory email from Trott after that feat.
At the Lilac Grand Prix at the Podium in Spokane Jan. 27, in a field of professional runners, Herrmann finished fourth in the 800 meters in 1:48.07, moving him ahead of Eversley Linley’s 1:48.58 set in 1992.
The Vandals junior arrived in Moscow from Landeau, Germany, at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2021. He began to reap the benefits of a normal racing schedule after the pandemic eased and gradually increased his training load and cooperative working relationship with distance running coach Travis Floeck.
Tim Cawley, Idaho’s director of track and field and cross country, said he sets a broad strategy for training runners like Herrmann. But he gives Floeck great credit for shaping that strategy to achieve the year-over-year improvement without serious injury layoffs .
“Travis and I have good communication,” Herrmann said. “We trust each other a lot. I am pretty easy to coach, and he is an easy coach to work with.”
Herrmann set Idaho’s outdoor 800 record at 1:46.9 at the NCAA Preliminary West meet in Arkansas in May after claiming the 1,500 mark in 3:42.11 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in California last April. Herrmann is a second-team All-America at 800 meters from 2022, and he also won the indoor and outdoor 800 in the Big Sky Conference that year.
A sub-4-minute mile remains a highly regarded mark in middle-distance running, and Herrmann is close enough to set it as a goal for next season. In NCAA track and field, the mile is run indoors, and the slightly shorter 1,500 meters is the outdoors version of the race.
“I would like to break 4 minutes in the Kibbie Dome. That is definitely a goal,” Herrmann said. For the remainder of this year, though, he plans to concentrate on the 800 in an effort to make the NCAA finals that barely eluded him in 2022. Another highlight will be defending his title in the Big Sky indoor championships Idaho will host Feb. 23-25.
Herrmann and the Vandals found each other through an athletics recruiting company that put his information as a competitor on a website.
“(Before that), to be honest, I didn’t even know Idaho existed,” Herrman said.
But he and Cawley emailed and Facetimed Herrmann said he got a good feeling. He made the leap of faith to continue his running career and education thousands of miles from home, and it has worked out well.
Cawley found he recruited a runner with enormous range and valuable leadership characteristics. As a young athlete in Germany’s club system, Herrmann said he began with sprints and jumps and moved up to the middle distances, but he never ran longer.
At Idaho, he ran cross country for the first time and dipped below 30 minutes for 10 kilometers (29.56) at the West Region Championships last year. Had he run that time outdoors on a track, it would have been the second-fastest 10K in Vandals history.
Herrmann also runs the 400 meters in the high 47 to low 48 seconds and competes on the Idaho 4x400 relay.
“His range is off the chart,” Cawley said. “His best attribute is his ability to race. Some guys run a great time trial, but they get lost in a race. He is in his element when he is in a race.”
Herrmann said he is comfortable as a front runner or a kicker, but he has not had the opportunity to sit in the pack and kick in the longer of his specialties.
“I would love to jump in a tactical 1,500 or mile at some point,” he said.
Cawley’s goal is to get the most out of Herrmann’s wide-ranging talent without abusing it and running him into the ground, but he embraces the challenge.
“Every athlete is kind of his own puzzle,” Cawley said. “That’s the fun part of it.”
Any athlete with Herrmann’s talent is a de facto team leader whether he wants to be or not, Cawley said. But Herrmann brings more to the task than fast times.
Cawley said Herrmann fits the team’s mission statement about pursuing excellence in athletics and other aspects of life in a collaborative environment
“He has all the characteristics of a leader you could ask for, and much more,” Cawley said
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