GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. It's not every day that an athlete gets to share the company of someone they consider great.
Earlier this month, CMU senior, Lexie Chapman got to join the ranks of Alexis Skarda when she punched her ticket to the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Not only is Skarda one of Lexie’s running idols, she also the only other Maverick cross country runner to qualify for the national competition.
“There was one point in the race where my teammate actually caught up to me and she said ‘Hey we're two and three so we would go if would go right now,’” said Lexie Chapman.
That was the extra push Lexie Chapman said she needed in the homestretch of the NCAA South Central Regional Championships.
She went on to finish 11th at regionals, becoming just the second Maverick cross country runner in CMU history to make it the national competition.
“I don't think any of us really expected it. My goal in cross country is always just to help the team the best that I can,” said Chapman.
Turns out Lexie's best puts her in the same conversation with CMU’s best to date, Alexis Skarda.
“She’s the benchmark that we use for our program, so these guys know her very well, but they know of her,” said CMU cross country’s Head Coach, Matt Canterbury.
“She has the like majority of school records, and she's been All-American and stuff so to be the next one after her is almost surreal,” said Chapman.
Lexie's a freshman year walk on and converted mid distance runner, so let's just say she's stunned a few people along the way to her national qualifier spot.
“I never thought she could in cross country, and it's kind of weird saying that I never thought s, but it's a testament to her attitude and the goals that she has,” said Canterbury.
Lexie says getting to this point certainly wasn’t easy.
“Being able to work hard and trusting the program has been huge, and I think it’s been a really big part of getting where I am now,” said Chapman.
She’s got thousands of miles behind her and a few more tough ones ahead, but for now, Lexie says she's soaking in the moment.
“Oh, I’m really excited. It’s going to be a really cool experience. I’m going to Florida, and I’ve never been to Florida so it’s going to be really fun,” said Chapman.
Lexie will race in the national championships on November 19th in Saint Leo, Florida.