Though she is a rookie to the sport, freshman cross country runner Jazmin Chavez has quickly become one of the fastest females in the Far West League.Chavez began cross country this year after previously playing volleyball, but said she decided to try something new.
“I didn’t really know what it would be like. I just knew that I liked running,” Jazmin said. “I thought I might as well give it a try.”
Jessica Chavez, Jazmin’s mother, said because of her daughter’s previous track experience, running has been easier for her.
“We had a feeling she could do well at it,” Jessica said. “She’s always been really good at running.”
According to Jessica, it was common to find Jazmin running laps in the morning at Madison Elementary School as part of a competition. Every November, Madison held a race called the “Turkey Trot,” where the fastest students to run once around the track, won an assortment of prizes, with a turkey as the first place trophy. According to Jessica, Jazmin was a fierce competitor and a force to be reckoned with during those races.
“We never had to buy turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner,” Jessica said.
Coach Steve Delgado said he appreciates that Jazmin has joined the team this year.
“I like having her on the team. She has great potential,” Delgado said. “I want her to have a love for doing it beyond what place she gets.”
Delgado described Jazmin as a “character,” energetic, driven and a natural distance runner.
“She’ll moan and groan about having to do the work, and then she goes and does a hard hill run,” Delgado said. “She’s just being funny. It’s part of her personality.”
Senior Isabel Groth, cross country captain alongside senior Sawyer Heckard, said she is enthusiastic about the new addition to the team because of Jazmin’s increased growth and improvement each meet. Groth said Jazmin is full of energy all the time and adds a new dynamic to the team.
“I was really excited that she joined the team because she works really hard and she’s quite fast,” Groth said.
Jessica said she is proud of her daughter and excited she made the choice to join the team. She describes Jazmin as a very focused runner who makes the sport look effortless.
“She’s always been very determined,” Jessica said. “When she puts her mind to something like this, she’s going to give it her all.”
According to Jessica, she often found Jazmin out running to prepare for the season.
“The fact that she had the motivation to prepare before practice started is kind of amazing,” Jessica said.
Because of this, according to Delgado, she is among the top freshman girls in the state.
According to Jazmin, being on the team requires a taxing practice every day after school, as well as running on her own over the weekends. The team has already had three meets, where Jazmin has beaten her personal record each time. Not only that, as of Wednesday October 14, Jazmin also beat the freshmen record set by 2015 graduate Katelyn Rossback.
Jazmin is enthusiastic about her new love for the sport and encourages others to give it a try.
“Anybody can join, even if they don’t think they can run the whole 5K, they should still join,” Jazmin said. “We need as many people out as we can.”
According to Jazmin, she enjoys running because it’s a good way to get away from the world and only focus on running.
“I like running. It’s a good way to get your mind off of things,” Jazmin said.
Jessica said watching her daughter’s running is rewarding.
“She doesn’t want to give up on things,” Jessica said. “She’s never going to quit.”