Kinsey Gomez has set a standard for cross country and track athletes at Coeur d’Alene High School that won’t soon be exceeded.
In his first year as the starting quarterback, junior Chad Chalich rewrote CdA’s record book while leading the Vikings to the 5A state championship. He hopes to duplicate those numbers and lead CdA to a state repeat in the fall.
Gomez and Chalich have been named The Spokesman-Review’s North Idaho male and female athletes of the year.
The Oregon State University-bound Gomez defended all of the state titles she captured as a junior – the state cross country title along with championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in track. Last fall she was named the Gatorade athlete of the year for a second time in cross country. Last summer, she captured a national Junior Olympic title in the 3,000 meters and was second in the 1,500.
It seems just like yesterday that Gomez broke onto the Idaho running scene when she surprised by capturing a state title in cross country as a freshman.
“Part of me hardly remembers it, but it was the building blocks to where I am today,” Gomez said.
The following year an injury during the state title race held Gomez back as she finished a courageous runner-up before returning to dominance her last two years.
And dominating she was as Gomez won the state cross country titles last year and this season by more than 30 seconds.
While she hopes what she did at CdA is the standard for years to come, she also hopes that what she accomplished inspires other girls to want to do the same.
“I wouldn’t want anybody not to break my records,” she said. “I want to see the program succeed because it made me the athlete I am. I hope people realize that those things are attainable. All it takes is hard work and determination.”
Gomez did it not only on the track and the various terrains of cross country but she also did it in the classroom. She finished ranked eighth in her class academically with a 4.2 grade-point average.
She realizes life will be different in college.
“I’ve been a big fish in a small pond,” she said. “Now I’ll be a small fish in a big pond. It will be a challenge. I hope that I can rise to the occasion and prove that I can run with the big dogs. I’m excited to see where it takes me.”
Like Gomez, Chalich takes care of matters in the classroom. He has a 3.52 GPA.
His intelligence is obvious on the football field. He rarely made a poor decision last year.
He threw for 2,844 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 541 yards and six TDs. He threw for 190 and two TDs in CdA’s 28-7 win over Centennial in the state title game. He was sacked just three times.
Chalich was named the 5A player of the year.
“We had a great group of guys,” Chalich said. “We had a lot of seniors involved.”
CdA graduates the core of the receivers who were Chalich’s top targets and standout running back Zach Keiser. The Vikings also must replace most of Chalich’s linemen including left guard, center and right guard.
Chalich is confident CdA can reload.
“I think we have a good chance to repeat,” Chalich said. “We need to bond as a group like we did last year.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Chalich has also been a three-year starter in basketball. The core of that team also returns next year and has Chalich thinking about a state title in that sport.
“How sweet would it be to win state championships in football and basketball?” Chalich asked.
His first love, though, is football. The list of possible suitors is impressive. He said University of Nevada, Boise State University, San Diego State, Utah and Washington State are recruiting him.
His June will be a jam-packed month. He will be attending a camp at Oregon State including going to the Nike Camp, he’s headed to a camp at Reno and BSU with possible appearances at camps at the other colleges that are recruiting him. He also has his high school camp later this month.
“I’m confident that I’ll end up in a good situation,” Chalich said of a college destination.
He will also play in two of four basketball tournaments.
Chalich hopes he grows a couple of more inches. It’s in the family genes. His father, Mark, who played football and basketball at Central Valley and went on to play both at Montana-Western, is 6-6.
“A couple more inches wouldn’t hurt,” he said.
He skipped participating in track this spring to concentrate working with a trainer to improve his strength and speed.
Chalich was recently nominated among 400 juniors nationwide for the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, with 90 being selected to play in the all-star game in January.
He’ll finish a busy June by playing for a 10th straight year at Hoopfest.