By Richard Greene
In a race where the state record fell, Katherine Chavez set some personal history Saturday morning at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin.
The Northwest freshman ran a personal-best 10:53.18 to bring home a sixth-place finish in the Class 5A 3,200 finals at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships.
“Setting a new PR was my main goal,” Chavez said. “I’m really happy. I did better than I expected.”
Chavez smashed her previous best of 11:09 that she ran in March during the Texas Relays also at Mike Myers Stadium.
Katie Jenson of The Woodlands College Park won the race in 10:24.8, breaking the record of 10:25.33 set by Nichole Jones of Spring Westfield in 2006.
Madi McLellan of The Woodlands finished second in 10:26.05. Karis Jochen of A&M Consolidated took third in 10:31.23.
With nearly perfect conditions, the pace was fast from the opening gun. San Antonio Johnson’s Natalie Langan took the leaders through the first lap in 71 seconds. The first mile was completed in 5:11. Chavez was two seconds off the pace through the first four laps in sixth place.
“It was really fast,” Chavez said. “I went through the first mile in 5:13.”
Chavez moved up to fifth in the sixth lap, passing San Benito’s Brenda Lopez.
Lopez and Chavez ran nearly step for step with each other over the final two laps. Lopez was able to lean across the finish line just ahead of Chavez to take fifth.
Chavez said she was battling some nerves before the race. She hopes this experience will help her in future years.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “I hope it prepares me for later on.”