Hopkinsville’s Chase Atkins already has his name in the cross country record books.
He just wanted to make sure he stayed there in his senior season.
The senior didn’t have the final performance he would have liked, but his season results and bettering his already set school record at the Region One meet is why he was named the 2020 Kentucky New Era boys’ cross country Athlete of the Year.
The Tigers had a historic year with Atkins leading the way. Hoptown qualified for the Class 3A state meet for the first time ever. Atkins said the team felt that qualifying together was very much a possibility this season.
“Going in that was our goal as a team,” he said. “We knew we had a good shot of making it to state as a team. Going in, my own goal was to run as hard as I could, throw down a PR — which I did, and place as high as possible.
“Obviously I can’t do anything about my teammates — they have to do their part. We had a little bit of a scare. Chance (Jones) didn’t have his best race. When we heard the results and saw we finished sixth, we were happy that we made it.”
As far as the season was concerned, Atkins was happy to get as much of one as possible.
“Everything came up on us, but I think we handled it good,” Atkins said, “We got as many meets in as we could. We went every weekend.
“My season, in particular, wasn’t my best season but I still performed and I did what I did.”
Already the school record holder coming into the year in the 5k race, Atkins set forth to just continue to lower his time and wasn’t all that worried about setting a new record.
“The school record part doesn’t affect me that much,” Atkins said. “I know that if I PR, it’s a good thing and I’m happy any time I get a PR.”
Atkins ran his best time of the year at the region meet, setting a PR and running a time of 15:25 on the way to a second-place finish in the meet to eventual state champions Jackson Watts from Madisonville-North Hopkins.
At state, it was a tough situation for Atkins, as he was placed in the third wave, away from Watts many other race frontrunners like himself.
Atkins finished in the top-10 still but wasn’t satisfied.
“State wasn’t a great race for me,” he said. “I finished seventh which is what I finished last year so I didn’t do too good. In the third wave — I didn’t really do what I wanted to do. With a new course, it was definitely tough but everybody had to run on it.”
Despite not having the final race he would have liked, Atkins closes his cross country career with a time much lower than when he started, and a school-record to show it.
Now finished with cross country, Atkins will focus on finishing his swimming and track and field career at Hopkinsville as well. He plans on continuing to run at the collegiate level as well.
“I plan on going to college to run,” he said. “Right now, I’m looking at a few colleges.”