Feb. 11, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – The American Athletic Conference has selected Alvaro Chavez (West Windsor, N.J.) as the league’s Track Athlete of the Week in accolades announced Tuesday morning. Chavez played an instrumental role in helping the Huskies defeat nationally-ranked Penn State to win the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup this past weekend.
The sophomore clocked a personal-best 1:47.96 to grab second place in the 800 meter run on Saturday afternoon, finishing just .51 off the winning (and NCAA-best) time. Chavez’s marker not only set a personal best, but ranks third in the country and represents the fastest time in the American Athletic Conference. Fellow sophomore Robert Rhodes (Brooklyn, N.Y.) holds the second-ranked time in the American at 1:52.37.
The New Jersey native’s accomplishments from this past weekend do not end there. Chavez also ran the first leg of UConn’s Distance Medley Relay, helping Connecticut to a top finish in a season-best time of 9:54.20. Both his 800 meter and DMR times from this past weekend are IC4A qualifiers.
“AJ made one of the greatest ‘breakthroughs’ I’ve ever seen this past weekend,” remarked head coach Greg Roy of the sophomore’s performance. “With a PR of 1:50+, he skipped over 1:49 and 1:48 and went right to 1:47!”
Coach Roy credits Chavez’s savvy race strategy for earning him the nation’s third-best time. “The breakthrough was a combination of the perfect set up in the race and AJ making a decision to run the race the way it needs to be run. He is a fantastic trainer and a great finisher, but had a tendency to ‘take a nap’ in the middle of hot races. He broke that tendency in this race and the results speak for themselves.”
With the first American Athletic Conference Championship fast approaching on Feb. 28, the Huskies will continue to prepare as they return to competition on Friday at the Lafayette/Rider Invitational in New York City. As for Alvaro Chavez, Coach Roy lauds his accomplishment and anticipates higher expectations going forward. “AJ is a great student, great athlete and a great person. You couldn’t ask for more from an athlete … but we will!”
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