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Cross country: Chavez raising bar for herself, Holy Family team

Cross country: Chavez raising bar for herself, Holy Family team

 

BROOMFIELD — Lindsey Chavez has put the work in. Now the Holy Family girls cross country runner is ready to chase down her goals.

And my how the incoming junior has set the bar high for herself and her team.

Chavez aims to churn out her best career time this season, and breaking the 19-minute mark could spell big things come the Class 3A state meet. But it is not so much getting herself to the top of the podium that has the hard-running Tiger going the extra mile.

With Holy Family boasting a veteran squad, Chavez hopes running down individual glory will lead to top team accolades.

“Hopefully, we’re in the position to win state this year,” she said. “We’ve got the team to do it. We just need to put in the work to stay in position to win.”

Chavez knew Holy Family had the potential to be a salty squad in 2012 after last year’s state appearance.

The team cut across the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds at an impressive clip, earning ninth place in the 3A championship. And any lingering doubts she had about the four returning qualifiers being on pace for a top spot at this year’s state race were quickly smashed with the effort the Tigers put in during the offseason.

“We put in the work and have come into the year focused,” Chavez said. “I believe everybody on the team understands the expectations and are living up to them.”

Chavez was her team’s top runner at the state championship, with her time of 19:33 earning her sixth place. While David Good does not foresee the pack leader losing a step in her quest to run into the top three, the coach does believe she will be tested. From what Good has seen already, Danielle Medearis, Jessica Talamantes and Cassidy Hemp have only gotten stronger since their state performance.

“Danielle is the motor of this team in many ways. … She’s going to make sure the girls behind her are doing what they need to do to succeed,” the coach said. “And Jessica and Cassidy are bigger, stronger and faster.”

The girls are a big reason Good has a spring in his step, but not the only one. The coach is fielding a boys team he sees setting up to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish, despite losing three seniors.

“We still have Sean (Ankarlo), Erich (Hixson) and Aaron (Hillman),” Good said. “And they’ve only gotten stronger since last year. The boys aren’t quite as deep, but I think their potential is just as good as the girls.”

The talent level of Holy Family’s three returning state qualifiers has Ankarlo believing his team can best almost any challenge thrown in front of it. But he does foresee the Tigers needing to dig deep, if it wants to make the top of the podium.

“Specifically, we need to find people who want it,” the 14th-place state finisher said. “There are probably some who don’t know they’re capable of helping the team right now. Then there are others that you can see in their form already that they will make a run at varsity.”

Good has a lot coming together on both sides of his team. And almost serendipitously, the 3A field is also tilting in the Tigers’ favor. Classification powerhouse Classical Academy — which won both the girls and boys title in 2011 — has jumped to 4A.

“While you don’t want to earn an advantage that way, we’ll take it,” Good said. “You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.