May 21, 2002
Track and Field's triple threat
Chris, Jeff and Nick Santana have spent
a lifetime together.
Now, after making a major impact in their first season with
the CSUS track and field team, it's safe to say that the triplets
will be spending at least three more years by each other's
The Santanas are also unusual in a different way. Besides
attending the same university and participating in the same
sport, they also compete in the same events - the 110-meter
hurdles and 400 hurdles.
Hornets head coach Joe Neff discovered the Santanas while
scouring the local newspaper agate for talent. He noticed
the Santana name over and over again, then finally discovered
the secret. There were three of them.
Neff remembers how challenging telling them apart was when
the Santanas arrived.
"I've never heard of triplets on the same team,"
Neff said. "The unique thing is trying to tell them apart.
Initially that was a chore. But their facial features are
different and you can get used to it."
The trio began their track and field career at Benicia High
School, where they tried out for the team after a suggestion
by the coach.
"The track coach saw that we had some athletic talent
while we were in PE class, so he told us to come out for track
and we did," Chris said. "He started us off in the
pole vault and then had us try all the other events before
realizing that the hurdles were our best event. They were
our favorite events, so it all worked out."
They're now competing at the Division I level and making a
name for themselves in the Big Sky Conference. During the
2002 indoor season, Chris qualified for the Big Sky Conference
Championships in the 55-meter hurdles.
During the outdoor season, all three brothers have qualified
for the conferences with Chris and Jeff in the 400-meter
hurdles and Nick in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles.
Nick says one of the biggest reasons for their decision to
compete together at CSUS was to stay together and push each
other day in and day out.
"We wanted to go to college together because we try to
help each other out in practice by giving each other tips,"
he said. "It makes it better for us because we are always
competing with each other and pushing each other to try and
Even with all the success on the track, Neff says that the
Santanas bring a silent quality and a strong family background
to the team.
"With the Santana boys comes a tight knit family,"
Neff said. "The Santanas have not missed a track meet
this year, including a 30 hour drive to Washington during
the indoor season. They're a tremendous support group. The
boys themselves are well behaved, self-disciplined and take
Jeff said that their parents, who still live in Benicia, have
gone to every meet since they were in high school and are
not planning to stop now that they are in college.
For further information, send an e-mail
public affairs at (916) 278-6156. For ticketed events, call
the CSUS Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323.
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