Piedra Vista senior will run track and cross-country
FARMINGTON – Piedra Vista senior Cassandra Crowell will run at the next level after signing her national letter of intent with Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday at Piedra Vista High School.
Crowell will compete in both cross-country, and track and field at Lubbock Christian, an NCAA Division II school, after keeping in contact with Lady Chaparrals track and cross-country coach Nick Cordes since October.
"I was visiting Texas, and I stopped at Lubbock to reach out to their coaches, and they responded," Crowell said. "I started communicating (with coach Cordes), and he gave me a tour. We kind of just clicked, and that's when I decided that's where I wanted to be."
Crowell was consistently one of PV's top female finishers during cross-country meets last fall and has already qualified in the pole vault for state. She also has qualified for state as part of the school's 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams.
Lady Panthers cross-country coach Sampson Sage has been in contact with Cordes, and he has vouched heavily for Crowell, who he said he built his program around for the past four years.
"When an athlete gives all their energy and effort for four years, it's only right that I advocate on their behalf," Sage said. "I know she just skimmed the surface in high school. So when she told me of her interest in LCU, the least I could do was make sure I did everything I could to help her in this process."
At the college level, women run a 6K in cross-country, as opposed to high school's 5K. Sage said Crowell dealt with nagging glute injuries for the past couple years, which forced him to limit her long repetitions, but he also said he thinks she can be even better at LCU if she can maintain her health.
"We had to keep her flat and more aerobic-threshold based," Sage said. "She could definitely be like a low 21 or mid-20 (minute) girl, and just from there, the sky's the limit. She's honestly a Swiss army knife. She can do anything from low to high."
Crowell has been just as valuable to PV's track and field team. On Monday, she'll compete in the Marilyn Sepulveda Track Meet at the University of New Mexico Stadium for pole vaulting. The Sepulveda Meet is the track and field all-star meet for New Mexico, according to PV track coach Mark Turner, one that Crowell will be competing in for the second time.
When she gets to LCU, Crowell said she expects to compete primarily in the 400- and 800-meter runs, where Turner thinks she'll find success.
"She's going to make a great middle-distance runner in college track," Turner said. "The way she works, she'll be great in the 400 and 800, guaranteed."
LCU competes in the Heartland Conference. The Lady Chaparrals cross-country team took 16th out of 23 schools in last year's NCAA South Central Regional Championship meet. LCU's track and field team was reinstated for the 2016-2017 season after being discontinued for the past several years.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.