BLOOMINGTON | The goal all year had been to medal at state.
With its fifth-place finish, LaPorte's boys' 3,200-meter relay team did just that at the 108th IHSAA Track and Field State Championships. The Slicers reached the awards stand after coming in 12th in last year's race.
"The whole season, we knew we were going to be vying for one of the top medalist spots," LaPorte's Josh Hojnacki said.
"We went out there and did our best, and obviously it was good enough."
The Slicers faced competition from Carmel in their heat. Carmel entered with the higher seed, but LaPorte held a slim lead over the Greyhounds for almost the entire race.
"I was surprised to see us beating them for the first three people," said Hojnacki, who ran the relay's second leg.
The team's time of 7 minutes, 50.97 seconds lifted it past Chesterton. The Trojans finished 10th (7:54.92), while Valparaiso ran a 7:56.45.
"Earlier in the season, I was like, ‘Wouldn't it be cool if we got fifth in the state?'" Hojnacki said.
Trojans senior Kody Galloway came up just short in his quest for a state championship in the high jump. Galloway entered the day as the favorite to win, claiming the top seed with a season-best jump of 6 feet, 7 inches.
However, Galloway finished second to Southmont's Jonathon Christenson at state. Galloway cleared the bar at 6-6, but could not do any better.
Four other jumpers also went 6-6, but Galloway was the official runner-up by having the least amount of misses. Galloway's teammate Ryan Cutter, who runs the 800 meters, also medaled by placing ninth.
"It's been a long road," Cutter said. "I got last in the mile last year, so this year, my coach really wanted me to get a medal."
Cutter sneaked into that last medalist position with a time of 1:55.07, although he wasn't completely sure after he finished if it would be good enough.
"That was the longest minute of my life, looking up at that scoreboard," Cutter said.
Cutter's time broke a 51-year-old Chesterton record, but he remained more proud of medaling at state.
"It's huge," he said. "That was my goal -- getting a medal at state. I'm just happy I finally got one on my own."