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Chesterton bounces back; Raymond keeps rolling at New Prairie Sectional

NEW CARLISLE -- An entertaining part of watching Cole Raymond win a race is seeing what the La Porte junior is going to do at the finish line.

Saturday's New Prairie Sectional victory didn't elicit a reaction.

"I didn't run the best so there was no point in doing anything," Raymond said despite breezing to a 19-second victory in 16:37.6. "My goal was to come out here and push it but I wasn't feeling the best really early in the race. After the mile, I heard it was 4:53, so I knew it wasn't going to be anything special. I was just gonna chill. Last year, I came out and pushed Tim O'Laughlin. He really brought it. This year, there wasn't a kid who was just going to break me. I knew I didn't want to hammer and totally go for it. The heat got to me a little, but everyone had to deal with it."

Runner-up Matthew Streeter (16:56.7) paced a Chesterton resurgence from the Duneland Athletic Conference meet as the Trojans hung a modest 25 points, a 44-point margin over second-place Valparaiso.

"Last week was just a reality check," Trojans coach Tim Ray said. "We had to come down to earth. It told us, even on our best day, we're not going to be able to beat Crown Point and Lake Central. They're just so much better than we are, but we can't lose focus on what we can do. Let's just try to get better this week and I thought we did. We knew it was going to be a battle with Portage, Valpo

Cole Raymond of La Porte won Saturday's

New Prairie Sectional.

and La Porte. They were getting closer to us last week. We were trying to build our confidence back up that we can get in the top six in two weeks and go from there. It started with being a little better prepared."

The title was Chesterton's first since 2009 and marked the first time both the girls and the boys won on the same day.

"I'm happy for our two seniors, especially Matthew, after he didn't make all-conference," Ray said. "It's been a long time since we've been able to say we won a sectional championship."

Streeter edged Valpo's Joel Bryant for second with Trojan Jackson Tuck fourth, crossing shoulder to shoulder with Cole Dolson. Evan O'Connor was sixth and Josh Dennington eighth as just over six seconds separated the second through fifth runners for Chesterton.

"I think we're just focused on the now," Streeter said. "After DAC, OK, it's going to be difficult to beat Lake Central and Crown Point, so it's just focusing on doing the best we can, having the race we know we should have and preparing ourselves for next week We don't forget what happened in the past, but we don't let the highs get too high or the lows too low. Especially after COVID, not knowing how far the season was going to get, if we were even going to have our first meet, now getting to have a post-season race and topping it off with a win, it's fun. We've got a trophy to put in the trophy case."

While he relished the chase of Raymond, Streeter was sure not to get caught up in his pace.

"It's fun running with him," he said. "Everybody knows Cole's going to go out fast. I just ran the race I knew I should to help the team."

The remaining three qualifying teams were La Porte (101), New Prairie (108) and Portage (120).

"Very mediocre," La Porte coach Corbin Slater said. "I think we got surprised by the heat. We just have to keep doing the small things, keep eating, sleeping the right way. We want to run our best race at semistate. We said thar from day one this week."

Josh Baltes paced New Prairie in seventh.

"I know Josh isn't happy with his time, but that kid keeps battling," Cougars coach John Arndt said. "Ultimately here, we're building young men. If they learn to battle in cross country, they will battle in life. I'm not entirely satisfied with all the guys. They were all ranked in a particular spot, three guys all beat or tied it and two, not so much. They weren't way off, but we're not the kind of team that can have a little on, a little off. We're a team where we need especially the top four to be on. Morgan's coming in (to regionals), so one of us is going home." Chesterton's Matthew Streeter took second in the New Prairie Sectional on Saturday.

Washngton Township's Tyler Hachey (ninth) was the first individual qualifier with Mason Bills (Boone Grove, 13th), Kolten Becker (South Central, 17th) and Steven Jarvis (Wheeler, 18th) also placing in the top 20. Wheeler had four runners advance.

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