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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Chavez leads Panthers past Bronchos in district tuneup - Odessa American: Boys

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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Chavez leads Panthers past Bronchos in district tuneup

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Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2020 9:26 pm

Permian’s Christian Chavez had a plan heading into the Boys Varsity race at the Odessa Invitational cross country meet.

“I had to go out and get him tired,” Chavez said of crosstown rival Adrian Lujan of Odessa High.

“I needed to push the pace.”

Push the pace he did, though Lujan didn’t begin to fade until the final 600 meters of the 3-mile race.

That allowed Chavez to cross the finish line alone in 16 minutes, 30.84 seconds Thursday at UTPB Park.

Lujan was second in 16:51.75, with Abilene High’s Andruw Villa finishing third in 17:00.75.

“I feel good,” said Chavez, who finished 18th in 18:20.47 in 2019. “I felt strong; that’s probably the fastest I’ve gone on this course.

“I’ve been trusting the process and it’s been a great year.”

Chavez wasn’t the only Panthers’ runner to perform well.

Andy Sotelo was fifth in 17:45.34, Adriel Hinojos placed seventh in 17:58.72, Luke Garcia was 11th in 18:19.78 and Elyjah Conwright finished 14th in 18:38.06 to lead Permian to the team title with 38 points.

Odessa High, with Lujan leading the way, finished second with 65 points, while Wolfforth Frenship finished third with 75.

Joseph Flotte (fourth, 17:40.03) and Alex Camacho (eighth, 18:03.97) helped the Bronchos’ cause.

“I thought they all ran hard,” Odessa High coach Ricky Santiago said. “Adrian ran a tough race, he just went out too fast I think and it caught up to him.

“This was a good race to get us ready for the district meet.”

While Chavez worked his plan to perfection, Lujan confirmed his coach’s assessment of how the competition played out as Lujan’s game plan went out the window once the race started.

The two found themselves at the front of the pack among the pace setters and then began to separate themselves from the other runners midway through the course, which is when Lujan’s pre-race strategy took a hit.

“My plan was to run a steady pace for the first 1.5 miles and then slowly pick things up,” said the 2019 champion. “But I got caught up in trying to stay with Christian and I just wasn’t able to stay with him at the end.

“I need to get stronger mentally, to be able to dig down a little bit more and have a little more confidence in what I can do and I’ll be fine.”

Lujan was coming off a second-place finish Saturday at the Big Bend Mountain Ramble in Alpine, trailing only Marco Rey of Presidio across the line.

While the terrain at UTPB Park wasn’t quite as hilly, the flatter conditions allowed for the quicker pace that was ultimately the undoing of Lujan and the rest of the runners trying to chase down Chavez at the end.

“Christian ran a great race,” Permian coach Darchelle Welch said. “A great pace, comfortable and was able to pull away at the end.

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