GOODING – Senators sophomore Brianna Chance was an eighth grader when the light bulb went on.

“I was watching the Olympics, and it was ‘Oh well, I think the trying to make the Olympics would be pretty cool,’” Chance said. “Why not? My times started getting faster and I was getting stronger.”

Nursing shin splints all season, Chance won every race she qualified in, breaking the 100-meter (12.4) and 200-meter (26.23) school records at Gooding in the 3A state meet.

“And the thing is she has a lot more; she is totally untapped,” Gooding head coach Kent Seifert said.

The sprinter transferred from Wendell, where she finished in the top 10 in 2A at state in both races despite a hamstring injury. But it was the injury — and the help and support she received from Gooding coaches and athletes at the meet she injured it in — that seeded the idea of transferring to one of the area’s best track schools. Her parents already worked in Gooding. The family decided to move there last year in part to give Chance the opportunity to work with Seifert and his assistants.

“They were great; we realized how good a program Gooding is, so why not move there and go to school there?’ I want to get a full ride track scholarship,” she said.

Naturally, her family makes for a pretty good support team.

Her mother was her nutritionist, setting out and preparing a weekly meal plan similar to that of a Gooding football player. Her father made sure she made it to the gym every morning to lift weights and run. She had a motivator — her younger brother.

“I want to be a role model for him,” Chance said. “I want to show him he can do anything.”

Since eighth grade, Chance has lifted, working to increase her strength and explosiveness. But Seifert thinks simply by getting healthy her times will improve, as her shin splints go down with rest over the offseason.

Chance’s work ethic allows may pave the way for the mental advantage she seeming has on competitors, having the confidence to handle the anxiety of race day.

“You need to use your nerves instead of pushing them away,” Chance said. “The nerves are what get you pumped and get you going and keep you going. It’s not hard if you set your mind to it, but you have to tell yourself ‘Why save yourself for anything?’ You want to go all out all the time. Track is more of a mental game than a physical game. You have to get yourself mentally prepared for al the work.”

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