By Jim Irish
Brice Chabot was forced to jump through some hoops to obtain a passport in order to compete in the under age 23 North American, Central American, and Carribean (NACAC) Athletics Championships in Costa Rica.
The former Smithville High School sprinter, currently a rising junior at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was told that the Houston passport office couldn’t accommodate him. He turned to Plan B, flying to El Paso on July 4 and was driven to the passport office, where he waited eight hours to be “expedited.”
He then returned to the airport and hopped a flight to Austin. He slept at home but was awake at 5 a.m. the next day to fly to the USA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
In the 200 preliminaries last Saturday, the 5-foot-11, 155-pound Chabot stood on the starting line with former 100-meter world champion Christian Coleman in the next lane.
Chabot finished 19th in 20.86 seconds, clocking 10.70 for the first 100 and 10.22 for the second. His time was slower than his personal record of 20.44 set at the Conference USA meet in May. But he qualified for the U23 World meet by finishing third behind Iowa’s Austin Kresley in 20.42 and Arkansas’ Connor Washington in 20.73.
“That was the most intense race… to see all those big names around me,” the 20-
year-old Chabot said. “It was an eye-opener for me to be that young at this big of a stage. I competed with the best. I know what it’s like.”
"... I competed with the best. I know what it's like."
-- Smithville alumnus Brice Chabot
Although he didn’t achieve a PR, Chabot said it was his best race of the season, “coming out of the blocks, my transition, opening my steps up, getting my knees to the top, and being where I want to be.”
Back in town, Chabot has practiced under the direction of sprint trainer Anthony Davis at Erhard Stadium in Bastrop. He departs Wednesday on a Delta non-stop flight to the capital San Jose — his first journey outside the country.
The U23 World meet includes athletes from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Jamaica has historically produced the world’s fastest sprinters.
On Saturday, he’ll run in the final of the 400-meter relay and the preliminaries of the 200. The 200 final is set for Sunday. Chabot said he expects the winning time to be around 20.48.
Chabot’s primary goal is to finish in the top three in the 200, which will automatically qualify him for a spot in the U.S. Olympic trials in 2024.
But he has an even loftier goal.
“My vision was always to get to the Olympics,” he said. “(I’m) this young and so close. I’m going all the way for it.”
On the return flight, he hopes to have a medal in his possession.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas