BARSTOW • Isaac Chavez and Andrew Romano will return to a familiar distance but a different format tonight.
The Barstow High School senior runners will race in the 5-kilometer race at the Arcadia Invitational. Events start at 10:30 a.m. at Arcadia High School while 5k is scheduled for 8:50 p.m.
Chavez and Romano are both three-time CIF Division III champions in cross country. While cross country courses are approximately the same distance, there's completely different approach to running the event in track.
"Most of the training we do is because it's a little bit different from cross country," BHS track coach Mark Hassell said. "Cross country you aren't normally working on pace. You're working on more positioning.
"This 5k is more about pace. Because you are on the track it's very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of everything else that's going on than about pace. We've been working on workouts that replicate pace that they are going to need to run in the race."
Chavez and Romano attended the event last year as part of Barstow's mile relay team and were mesmerized by the atmosphere.
Thousands of fans and athletes attend the event at Arcadia High School. The Arcadia Invitational is considered one of the premier high school track events which draws athletes California and beyond and where several national records have been set. This year 600-plus high schools from 24 states and three foreign nations requested entry into the event according to Dyestatcal.com.
Chavez's goal is to finish in under 15 minutes and said he wanted to "see what we can do as high school runners, compare our times with colleges."
"We want to look at their times and be like, 'Yeah, I'm going to get that someday or get that this meet' and try to go for it," said Chavez, referring to the records and history of the meet.
Former BHS runner Anthony Solis placed fifth in the 5k last year with a time of 15 minutes, 05.59 seconds.
Chavez and Romano originally planned to run in the mile relay at Arcadia with Josh Gomez and Ian Barba. They had a goal of setting the school record, but with Barba recovering from a cold, the idea was scrapped. Chavez, Gomez, Romano and Solis ran the event last year and set the school record.
"We decided this last week that we were just going to do the 5k because there was no way he'd be there to do anything because he's in the process of getting un-sick," Romano said.