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Bruno Hortelano-Roig

Bruno Hortelano-Roig '14 on the track at the Cornell-hosted Deneault Invite in February 2013. Photo: Dave Burbank.

Big Red track star spent summer setting records overseas

Bruno Hortelano-Roig '14 set two Spanish national records and broke his own Cornell record while competing for his native country Aug. 16-18 at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. He's already in mid-season form, and the first official practice for Cornell men's indoor track and field is still months away.

Bruno Hortelano-Roig

Bruno Hortelano-Roig '14 at the 2013 Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championship at Princeton on May 4-5. Photo: Russ Hartung.

A resident of Burlington, Ontario, Hortelano-Roig has dual citizenship in Canada and Spain (his parents were both born and raised in Spain). He received an offer to compete with the Spanish national team at the World Junior Championships three years ago and has since competed internationally, representing Spain six times.

Heading into this summer's World Championship races, his goals were simple: "I wanted to come back saying I had tried my best," he said. "I wasn't trying to think of anything but my own feelings and sensations. I just wanted to achieve some personal bests."

He did just that.

The 200-meter dash was Hortelano-Roig's first event at the World Championships after sitting out Spain's 4x400 relay heat to preserve his legs. He entered the event with the sixth-best time of the eight runners and, after running middle of the pack for the first 125 meters, something sparked Hortelano-Roig to make a late push toward the finish.

"I wasn't trying to win, I was just trying to execute my race," he said. But after noticing the second-place runner was within his reach, Hortelano-Roig explained he found a little extra motivation: "It brought out strength I didn't know I had."

He used that strength to barrel down the homestretch and overtake French runner Jimmy Vicaut, whom he edged by .03 seconds to advance to the semifinals. Hortelano-Roig's time of 20.47 is a personal best, a Spanish national record and a Cornell record. The previous Big Red record was 20.58 seconds -- set by Hortelano-Roig in July at the European Under 23 Championships in Tempere, Finland.

Also competing at the World Championships in the 200 was the "world's fastest man," Usain Bolt. Though the two ran in separate heats, Hortelano-Roig posted a qualifying time .19 seconds faster than Bolt. It was a feat celebrated by Cornell fans, students and alumni who watched it, and Hortelano-Roig addressed it with the poise of a seasoned professional:

"It's something I thought about. He's a legend in the 100 and 200… not everyone can say they ran faster than Bolt on any given day."

In the 200 semifinals, Hortelano-Roig ran a 20.55 but did not advance.

The following day he was part of another Spanish national record as a member of the 4x100 relay team. The foursome finished fourth in its heat with a time of 38.46 seconds -- ninth overall -- and missed qualifying for the semifinals by a mere .05 seconds.

As he transitions from international competition back to college invitational meets, Hortelano-Roig not only brings a competitive edge with him to the Hill after running against the world's best, but a mental advantage as well.

"[Worlds] gave me amazing confidence and motivation," he said. "After seeing my potential, I think this is just the beginning. As a senior at Cornell, I want to advance my own potential to perform well at Heps, at the NCAAs and to bring out the best in my teammates."

Beth Spadaccini is multimedia coordinator for Cornell Athletic Communications.

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