Lakeside High School head coach Jerry Meitin has seen senior Chase Fowers grow into a leader in his five years with the Panthers’ cross country program.
“He ran with us as an eighth-grader,” Meitin said. “He was a little tiny kid. He has just really burst onto the scene and he’s really improved every year. He learned a lot from Sid Vaughn last year about what it meant to be a leader. He watched Sid lead us last year and Chase was right there with him, but this year it’s his job to be the leader.”
This year Fowers has been leading from the front.
In Saturday’s Region 2-AAAAA Cross Country Regional, Fowers paced the Panthers boys team as he has all year, finishing second as the team finished first overall.
While leading races was an individual goal, he wanted more for the team.
“I’ve gotten to know every single one of the runners on the team this year,” Fowers said. “I made that a goal at the beginning of this year. We’ve gone on campouts, we’ve
had dinner together, we’ve watched Olympic races and reviewed strategy together. You know we’ve really
come along as a team and grown together and that’s part of being a captain.”
It’s been a fairly long run to get there.
Fowers started cross country at Augusta Prep because that’s all fifth-graders could participate in. He intended to switch to soccer the following year.
“That was a really good experience for me, so I just stuck with it,” Fowers said.
His last high school cross country race is Saturday at the GHSA State Cross County Championships in Carrollton, Ga.
The sport has helped him develop in different ways.
“Running’s taught me a lot of things,” Fowers said. “Physically, I’ve developed a runner’s body.
Strangely enough I guess that’s influenced my development. I’ve been in shape basically my whole high school career and that’s been nice. I never had to deal with anything
physically. Mentally and getting down to earth, it’s taught me a lot about determination.”
That drive is what he will need to get to one of his next goals in life.
“I want to run for Brigham Young University. That would be nice,” said Fowers. “They have really high standards and assuming I can meet those standards that they’ve set in the spring for track, because primarily what they’re looking for are track athletes.”