In three years as one of the top two distance runners on the Justin Northwest cross country team, Katherine Chavez has made her mark in more ways than one.
The Northwest junior qualified for the state cross country meet two years ago as a freshman and won the regional meet last year.
Injuries prevented her from rivaling for a state title last season, but the Lady Texans are once again among the state powerhouses in the sport of girls cross country, and Chavez is a big part of the reason why.
“Personally, this season didn’t start out too great,” Chavez said. “Coming off two stress fractures from last spring, I had a lot of catching up to do, so it was slow and frustrating to get back to where I needed in order to be competitive with the girls in the area.
“It has come up for me though recently and I’m looking forward to doing everything I can come district. As a team, we are doing better than we ever have really. It’s exciting to see everybody so happy and proud of themselves — you can’t ask for much more really.”
Chavez finished fourth two weekends ago in the Rick Neil Memorial Meet in the 5,000-meter event a time of 19:17.4. She was right behind teammate Kellee McCann (18:45.3).
“This season, I would like to break 18 in the 5K and defend my regional title,” Chavez said. “I would also like to medal at state.”
Chavez said she does believe that this year’s team is stronger than ever and said she thinks that is for a couple of reasons.
“I think this year, we aren’t as much of an underdog team so we have much higher expectations for ourselves, and we want to keep that and keep being noticed by other schools,” Chavez said. “We are all a year older and smarter in the way we run. I think that we are so much closer as a team than we have been and that just makes all the difference because you want to do well for yourself, but also you don’t want to let your friends down.”
Chavez said, to accomplish her goals this season, she is going to try to follow Northwest cross country coach George Lutkenhaus’ advice.
“My coach always talks about how half of the whole sport of cross country is your brain,” Chavez said. “Just not letting yourself get psyched out of doing great things, and I think we are in the shape we need to be to go to state as a team and accomplish our goals.”
The Northwest girls team finished fourth at the Rick Neil Memorial Meet.
L.D. Bell places 2 in warmup meet
The L.D. Bell cross country program saw two of its athletes finish in the top five at the District Warmups in Haltom City this past weekend.
Connor Hudson won an individual championship with a time of 16:48.40 in 5K Boys Varsity Division, while teammate Grace Mayar was fifth on the girls side with a time of 20:30.85.
Timber Creek strong in warmups
The Keller Timber Creek girls cross country team placed four athletes in the top 10 in the 5K Girls Varsity Division.
Olivia Cantu finished sixth at the meet with a time of 20:23.26, while teammates Sklylar Lange (20.45.84), DeeAnn Reeves (20:57.51) and Nicole Small (21:05.53) finished eighth, ninth and 10th respectively.
On the boys side, Cleburne’s Reagan Mead (17:06.40) and Luis Suaste (17:09.83) finished second and third at the meet, and Timber Creek’s Matthew Rogers (17:14.57) and Gabriel Monticure (17:19.33) finished sixth and eighth respectively.
Trophy Club Nelson’s Alexander Cebulske (17:10.24) finished fourth on the boys side and Yakari King (17:21.77) finished fourth and 10th overall.
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