It was a tale of expectations exceeded and expectations missed for local Class 1 athletes at the State Cross Country meet.
Crane senior Thomas Chabrecek had his eyes on the Class 1 gold medal since last year’s seventh place finish at the state meet, but he would come up just short in taking second place in a time of 16:49.79 to Linn’s Tyler Rush.
“It is obviously not what I was wanting. I finished second, so I am going to have to deal with that. He (Rush) just had a better race than me,” Chabrecek said.
Chabrecek ran a solid race throughout as his first mile split was third-best in the race and his second and third mile splits were second best, Rush was just in peak form on Saturday.
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The Crane harrier made a last ditch effort at the end, but the course’s relentless hills finally took their toll on him in the last 100 meters.
“I battled so hard the first three miles just to be close to him and it just got harder from there and my legs were just about out,” Chabrecek said.
After finishing second by just one point last year, Sparta’s cross country team had its eye set on a state title this year, but things just didn’t go the Trojans’ way on Saturday.
“Some days you come out and you have it as a runner and some days you don’t. Unfortunately today was a day we struggled a little bit,” Sparta coach Monica Wallace said. “I know Traven Eaton went down two times in the race by getting tied up with people. It kind of set him back a little bit.”
Even with the third place finish, the Trojan seniors go out with three straight appearances on the podium at State, which is an incredible feat in itself.
“We have been on the podium for the last three years and for our team to be able to do that is great within itself,” Wallace said. “Yes human nature is always that you want that first place title, but it just wasn’t here for us today and we have to realize that and know that and be happy with what we have because we are going home with a trophy again.”
Crane’s boys team finished in seventh place and returns all but Chabrecek next season.
“They have a very bright future,” Chabrecek said. “In the next one to three years they are going to be someone you have to watch out for.”
On the girls’ side, Crane’s Lexie Vaught followed up her first ever win last Saturday with a sixth place finish at the State meet just seven days later.
The Crane freshman in her first year of the sport had dialed back her expectations for her first State meet.
“With this being my first year and never doing this before, I was expecting a little worse, but I am glad I got here,” Vaught said. “I just wanted to finish. That was what my goal was; to finish,”
Not only did she finish, but she finished strong with the seventh fastest third mile in the entire field of 160. Her total time for the race was 21:58.05.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE BOYS RESULTS
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE GIRLS RESULTS