He wasn’t very good, but that didn’t keep his kid brother, Thomas, from wanting to be like him.
“My older brother was into running and he used to play baseball and basketball too so I figured I’d just follow in his shoes,” said Thomas
Chabrecek. “He wasn’t as talented at running as he was baseball; I just looked up to him and wanted to do what he did. He was a role model for me.”
So when the younger Chabrecek entered the halls of Crane High School it didn’t take long for him to figure out what sports he wanted to go out for.
He got immediate returns in cross country and basketball.
After advancing to state as a freshman in cross country and finishing 92nd, he returned with vengeance as a sophomore.
Chabrecek finished 33rd, knocking nearly two minutes off of his time from the previous year.
That same year on the hardwood Chabrecek was a member of the Pirates’ state championship team, making his sophomore year a memorable one.
“Basketball at Crane is huge,” said Chabrecek. “To be a part of a state championship was awesome. We had our ups and downs that season then we just got hot late.”
But entering his junior year Chabrecek would make one of his toughest athletic decisions to that point.
He decided to give up basketball to focus solely on running.
“My sophomore year I started thinking about how am I going to get to college and how am I going to pay for it and I thought running was the better option,” said Chabrecek. “It was hard. Basketball is where my heart is at. If we hadn’t won that it would have been harder. But to stop playing and go out with a state championship was great. It left nothing unsaid.”
That summer Chabrecek began working with the Springfield Track Club, training along some of the best distance runners in the area.
Competing alongside fellow 1 Awards nominees Spencer Haik and Chris Mooneyham made Chabrecek a more confident runner.
“I started running in the summer with Spencer, Chris and Ryan Way and the more I ran with them, the better I got, and the more I believed I could run in college,” said Chabrecek. “The more I practiced with them the more I realized that I may not be there now, but maybe I could get to that level if I kept working. I really just gave me more confidence in myself.”
That confidence resulted in another 30 seconds being knocked off his time, giving him seventh place in the 2011 Class 1 state meet.
As a senior, Chabrecek would again make a significant time increase, eliminating nearly a minute off of his time as he finished the Class 1 runner-up with a time of 16:49.79.
For the second year in a row, Chabrecek was all-state.
Although he graduates from Crane as the most decorated distance runner in school history, that isn’t the memory he will most recall as moves on to SBU to continue running collegiately.
“The honors are really for other people to look at,” said Chabrecek. “I’m glad I had the experience to do all that, but really what meant the most to me was the impact on the program. We haven’t had a strong program traditionally at Crane. Now we’ve got a youth program and with the help of what I was able to do there has been more interest in the program.”
Favorite athlete: LeBron James Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals Pregame superstition: 1 mile warm-up Most disliked athlete: Dwight Howard Favorite movie: Date Night Favorite musical artist: Eminem Favorite actor: Will Ferrell Favorite athletic memory: Winning state in basketball & signing with SBU Song on your IPod people wouldn't expect: None Hidden talent: Baseball
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