BOYS CROSS COUNTRY | STATE PREVIEW

Young Lake Central boys cross country team has high learning curve

2013-11-01T17:30:00Z 2013-11-02T20:33:11Z Young Lake Central boys cross country team has high learning curveAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
November 01, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

ST. JOHN | Most of them don't shave yet. They just got their driver's licenses. And if they were any younger, they'd be in daycare.

Lake Central's state-bound boys cross country team has seven sophomores among its top 12 runners.

Its top five scoring individuals at the New Prairie Semistate may have been the youngest in the state.

And today, they'll run the biggest race so far in their careers at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.

As they put in their final workouts of the season this week, no one had that deer-in-the-headlights look or bit their nails.

It's unlikely any of the Indians will be doubled over a bucket today, a basket case of nerves.

"We were more nervous at semistate before we made it (out)," said sophomore Zach Hupp. "I'm excited getting to see what the state meet is all about. If we don't do as good as we expect, it's our first year going down and we have two more years.

"Other than Tyler (Kramer-Stephens), who ran for another program, no one here has seen the state course."

Lake Central placed fifth at New Prairie — only the top six teams advanced — and was led by Hupp (15th, 16:24.4) and Stephens (20th, 16:28.2)

Hupp said many of his teammates knew each other in middle school, before their running careers began, and that has only tightened the bond on varsity.

"You're not just running for yourself, you're running for your family and friends," Hupp added.

"Last year when they were all freshmen, they stood out with fast times already," said senior Daniel Gustas. "This year, they knew they'd have to be at the top and they stepped up early like juniors and seniors normally do.

"We don't have a lot of (upperclassmen), so they had to take charge. They haven't shown they're afraid of anyone, which I don't think they're gonna do the next two years when they're going down again."

Fearlessness, like pace and a good kick, is critical in cross country.

"Our packing is extremely close," Hupp said. "We're all within a minute of each other in the race."

First-year head coach Jeff Rhody, a 1988 Portage grad, saw potential over the summer but is still pleasantly surprised.

"These guys are the most workman-like team I've ever coached," Rhody said. "You think they're young, they're gonna have all these nerves, but day in and day out, they've run against the biggest competition.

"They don't get too high or too low. It's amazing, their maturity level."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best baseball team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Featured Businesses