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Cross Country runs their way through State

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The LPHS cross country program had one of its best years to date, with both teams making their way to State.

For the boys’ cross country team, senior Cole Raymond had a phenomenal final season, placing first at Sectionals, Regionals, Semi-State, and capturing a 6th place finish at State, which earned him All-State accolades.

Raymond has always had enormous success during his high school career and is motivated by all the support his community gives him. His work ethic and determination have always impressed the coaching staff. 

“Cole is unlike any other person I’ve ever coached. He is an intense leader and an intense person. He’s the most competitive person I’ve ever encountered. He hates to lose and the whole team really took on Cole’s persona and was fearless by going out there and performing with their best ability. They weren’t worrying about who they were matched up against. He really led that team and they fed off of his energy. I believe that his actions will reverberate off of this team for the next couple of years,” coach Corbin Slater said.

Junior Brenna Sobecki also had an unforgettable season, leading the girls’ team to state as well. Sobecki placed third at Sectionals, fourth at Regionals, and fifth in Semi-State. One of her breakthrough moments was becoming the Duneland Athletic Conference champion, winning over two girls who were ranked 13th and 14th at State. 

Sobecki is motivated by both of her parents who ran in high school.

“My dad was a Slicer and he holds the 800m school record. Every day, when I’m walking into that track and seeing my dad’s name up there, it feels like an honor because he had a big career here and he pushes me to where I need to be. I want to be up there next to him at some point. I just think that history makes me proud to run at La Porte,” Sobecki said.

It was a season of highlights. Jay Pillai, a junior on the boys’ team, won the Lake Central invite, Sobecki won the DAC for the girls, and the boys won Sectionals. Raymond won first place, Pillai earned second place, and Brayden Sobecki placed third.

 The girls’ team only had a three percent chance of making it to Terre Haute, but they believed in themselves and pushed forward to punch their ticket to State.

“It was a fun experience this year. Two very different teams with different personalities and I’ve mentioned this before, but the girls were predicted to have an unlikely chance of qualifying, but they kept on believing and believing. We knew that the boys had a great shot throughout the whole season. Getting both on the same day and going down to State was really cool, and it was amazing having such a good support system behind us,” Slater said.

This cross country season was one of the best they’ve had, with 2015 being the only other year that both the boys and girls team qualified for State.

“This year the boys were amazing. For how hard they worked, they deserved it more than me because I’ve been in that stage before, and for those guys to be completely under the radar and perform as well as they did, they 100% deserved it. We’ve always had to live by the philosophy ‘Why not us?’ and now we get to bring it back. I think for the next four to five years La Porte Cross Country is gonna be back on the map. Ten years ago, we were one of the best teams in the state, but then we fell off. Now we’re coming back to that level and it’s such a great feeling,” Raymond said.

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