This edition of the Runner Spotlight is on redshirt senior Curt Threlkeld, who competes in the 400 and 800 meters for the CSU Bakersfield track team.
Threlkeld grew up in Bakersfield and his start in track began back in first grade, where he took place in the Franklin Elementary School’s open competition between grade levels. His ambition was to become one of the fastest kids and that’s exactly what he was. After that moment, his interest in track ignited. He moved school districts so he could compete locally. He went on to win medals and compete in the Junior Olympics, traveling out of state for the first time to New Orleans, Louisiana. With each competition Threlkeld took part in, he fell in love with the sport more and more.
While attending North High School, Threlkeld dipped his toes into other sports. He played both basketball and football, and was able to utilize the skills he developed from his track competitions. He preferred football over basketball, and enjoyed his time on the football field as a running back and slot receiver. The sport grew on him so much, he came to the point where he had to make a decision to continue playing in college. Ultimately, his decision rested in track, not only because he started with the sport, but injuries from football deterred him.
“I put the football thing aside, but I miss it so much. But I know track is where my heart is,” Threlkeld said, looking back on his decision.
After his start with CSUB track, Threlkeld was faced with the realization that everyone in college was just as good as he was. Growing up, Threlkeld finished on top the majority of the time, while here at the collegiate level, that is not always the case. This last season, however, he had a breakthrough year where he knew he could do it.
“I went from being ranked 180 in the nation to ranked, like, number 18 in the nation. So now I know my big jump to get to number one is just 18 spots,” Threlkeld said.
Threlkeld’s goal before the season started was to go out with a bang and do something no one has done before, which was to win and be number one. In order to do this, he made changes by being himself, focusing on his recovery, and taking extra time for himself in the mornings to run and at night to unwind and recover. With the season being suspended as of March 18, Threlkeld has not let go of his positive mindset. He still goes out for his runs and continues his training, knowing and believing that there’s still races for him to do out there, and Olympic trials to train for.
While training is not over for him, Threlkeld looks forward to what the future holds. He still has one more year left at CSUB, and then plans on putting his degree in liberal studies toward teaching math at Standard Middle School, where he attended. Threlkeld states that his biggest goal after college is to help others. He chose to teach math because, for him, solving problems is just like life and track.
“How you face challenges in sports is how you face them in life. It sets you up for life.”
Threlkeld hopes to not only become a math teacher, but he is planning on bringing back his desire for football by becoming a football coach as soon as next year.