Girls Track

Raffin carrying on the family tradition in Chesterton track

2012-04-30T21:00:00Z 2013-05-13T21:56:48Z Raffin carrying on the family tradition in Chesterton trackBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

With three record-setting siblings who have already left their marks on the Chesterton track program, Anna Raffin can't help but feel like she's carrying some sort of family baton.

"It's definitely driven me to work hard," the Trojans senior said. "Maybe it's because I'm competitive. I have high expectations, sometimes a little too high. I almost put pressure on myself."

It's not hard to see why. Lena broke several school standards and ran at Purdue. Matt, now running for Hillsdale, holds Chesterton's 300-meter hurdles mark, and Joe, who graduated with the 400 record (since broken by Joe Troop), runs at Detroit.

"It's just a super family," coach Steve Kearney said. "They're all a little different. At the same time, they all have good traits. They're very competitive when the time comes. Sometimes, a senior's interest fades. They have some success, but aren't as good of workers. It's gotten more important to (Anna). I  saw it with Lena and I see it with her. She's focused. She's always looking at what she can do to get a little better."

Primarily a short sprinter in the past, Anna is concentrating on the 400 this season, the same event in which Joe and Lena excelled. She is second on the team in points scored.

"At first, I was kind of hesitant to do it," said Anna, who was part of the 1,600 relay that qualified for state last spring. "I'd never really ran it. It's a hard race and I have to do two of those in one meet. But (sprints) coach (Jim) Socha and I were talking, and my (100, 200) times just weren't fast enough. I ran the four-by-four last year and got pretty decent times. We thought (the open 400) was my best chance at being successful."

With the postseason around the corner, Anna's personal best is 1 minute, 1.15 seconds, ranking her sixth in the area. The top three finishers at the regional advance to state. She's also just more than a tick slower than Lena's top time as a senior.

"It would be great to make it to state," Anna said. "It was such a cool experience last year. I've got to run a faster time -- that's the long and short of it. I don't have much time left. I've got to step this up."

As she transitioned to the longer race, Anna sought out the advice of other runners, including brother Joe, who gave her 400-specific workouts.

"I wish I could've known sooner how fast I could run," she said. "I'm training really hard, the preseason and now. I'm a lot stronger. I can handle more. Right now, I'm excited seeing what I can do with what I've put into the season."

Raffin's family is actually larger than a Chesterton roster of seniors that numbers less than 10. Anna is the second oldest among eight Raffin girls and fifth in a line of 13 kids ranging in age from 1 to 25.  Sisters Claire, a sophomore, and Teresa, a freshman, are also on the team.

"It's the first year I've been in a sport with my sisters," Anna said.

Both are also sprinters.

"They have a family tradition of being good," Kearney said. "They enjoy being around everybody and they don't mind working."

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