Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week: Draven Fernandez

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WTKR) – Salem cross country racer Draven Fernandez probably runs more in a week than some people drive. Racing since he was young, senior Sun Devil has grown into one of the best runners in Sun Devil history and is no stranger to roaming the roads and dominating the cross country course.

“I started running very young with my family,” Draven recalls. “I did a lot of local races, like Shamrock, and fell in love with the sport after I started doing it in high school.”

After all of his experience, Draven has learned to channel his energy during a run, and it works. His personal best of 4:34 was good enough to earn him the Beach District Championship title and is the second fastest time ever for a competitor from Salem High School. With two races remaining, assuming he qualifies for state competition, he hopes to break the school record of 16:18.

“A lot of things go through my mind,” he said of a race. “I’m very nervous, but I stay really focused and stay in the race as much as possible.”

Cross country is different from sports like soccer and basketball. Individual results are counted together to determine a team score. You also don’t have some of the verbal jerks that you may see more frequently on other courts or courts.

“There really isn’t a lot of gossip,” the elder noted. “You’ve kind of learned to get along with your opponents and you can learn to stick with them. There can be some chatter sometimes, but generally everything is friendly.”

Running has been Draven’s passion for a long time. If his plans come to fruition, he still has plenty of miles to go.

“I know his hope is to go to Lynchburg College or somewhere that has a good running program and find out what he’s made of,” said Salem head coach Roger Hopper.

“I hope to continue in college and maybe be successful professionally,” Draven added. “I still love sports, so even if I don’t, I will continue to run on my own and have fun.”

Salem competes in the Region 5A Championships on Saturday. His goal is to finish in the top three and qualify for state competition, in addition to setting a new Sun Devil program record.

If you have a candidate for the Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week, just send an email to [email protected]

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