Hard Work, Determination Drive Cross Country Runner to Success at State

Martin Chavez and Coach Pena

Martin Chavez knew this had to be his year.  He got sidelined by injuries his sophomore and junior cross country seasons, and just as he got back into his stride last year to run spring track, the pandemic shut down everything.

“It was terrible but there’s not a lot you can do,” Martin said.

Martin quickly began looking ahead to his senior year.

“I thought, let’s just move onto the next chapter. Hopefully there’ll be a cross country season, and thank God there was,” Martin said.

Although the Duncanville High School cross country team placed fourth overall in district, Martin won the 5k race to advance to regionals. There, he finished first out of about 200 runners.

“He is an extremely hard worker,” said Duncanville High School cross country head coach Moses Peña. “He is gifted naturally but he does not take that for granted. He is driven, self-motivated and he pushes himself.”

Martin’s efforts paid off. He qualified for state, which got him noticed by sports writers at the Dallas Morning News. They called him ‘one to watch.’

Martin Chavez wearing Texas Sweatshirt

In November, Martin traveled to Round Rock for the state cross country meet. He finished second out of a field of about 150 runners. Even though both he and coach Peña know Martin wanted to take first place, finishing near the top was a huge accomplishment.

“I think it was really good for him. He was able to see the fruit of his hard work over the past couple of years to see that rewarded,” said Coach Peña.

Typical of Martin, he’s already looking ahead to track season. He runs the 600, 800 and 3200 meter events.

“I personally like the 3200 more,” Martin said. “It gives me more time to think. I’m a little bit quicker on my feet. The longer the better for me.”

Martin plans to finish his senior year stronger than ever, and as always, he has the future in mind. He has signed to run for the University of Texas next year. He plans to study kinesiology to prepare for a career that draws on his experience.

“Running is always going to be a part of my life,” Martin said.