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  • Writer's picturepeters1119

CP, Guerra continue to set the pace

La PORTE -- The memo is getting around to runners. Don't go chasing Lucas Guerra early or you're going to pay the price late.

"Quinton (Bock) learned a lesson last week not to go out with Lucas," Crown Point coach Erik Forehand said of the Highland star. We had a conversation this week, you're a great runner, but you're not Lucas. You've got to stay within your limits, run your race and move up. You can't be going out in sub-five (minutes). We knew (Guerra) was going to go out fast. He's just that talented, that fit."

Bock resisted the tempation to get caught up in the quick pace and it paid off with a second-place finish behind Guerra, who won Saturday's Jack Bransford Invitational in 15:43.7. The time eclipsed the Kesling Park record of 15:50 previously held by Mike Fout (La Porte) and Geno Christofanelli (Crown Point).

"Cole (Raymond) and Sam (Bell) got a little excited. Cole wanted to show what he could against Guerra and Lucas showed why he's a state runner-up," La Porte coach Corbin Slater said. "He's a tough kid and a force to be reckoned with. Cole had some energy pent up from months of not being able to go out and race. It's OK. He gave it a shot. I think he'll be a little more conservative the next time. The same with our No. 2 (Sam Bell). He went out hard early and ended up paying the price."

While Guerra might not have picked up a personal best, he was surprised to find out he'd broken a record.

"I didn't expect that," Guerra said. "That was really cool. Coach always tells me, just run your race and the time will come with it. That's exactly what happened. It was a good race. It got a little hot once we started. It was a really fast start, kind of like last week. I felt really smooth going into the second mile. The third mile was the one that hurt the most. One of the coaches told me the next guy was a couple hundred meters back. I just have to push by myself. That was one thing, coming around the three-and-a-half K mark, I felt myself starting to slow down. I've got to tell myself to push."

Not that anyone noticed.

"I was interested to see how some of the Crown Point guys would come out after a good race last week," Guerra said. "Throw in Chesterton, Portage and LaPorte. It was good to see those guys again. I'm starting to see more of the Region. It's a few weeks to the State Preview in Terre Haute. There are going to be a lot of fast guys down there. I'm just making sure I'm still getting in a really good amount of workouts up here. I'm really looking forward to that meet and getting some more competition."

Bock paced Crown Point to the team title with 36 points. Lake Central (60) was second, followed by Chesterton (71).

"We mentioned before the race, we weren't expecting Chesterton to be here, now it's kind of turning into a DAC preview meet," Forehand said. "Let's see what we can do early in the season. We never base a race off what other teams are going to do. We focus to run within ourselves, trust our training, run a smart first mile. It was hot again, the sun was just radiating down. You can't win in the first mile. You have to be able to have some gas left in the tank to be able to finish."

Anthony Saberniak was fourth, Nathan Murphy tenth, Weston Hulen 12th and Cole Simmons 13th for the Bulldogs.

"Quinton ran really well and Anthony had an excellent race," Forehand said. "We had a couple guys (Simmons and Cameron Zimmerman) who were off. They had spikes that were too long. Those two guys are usually way higher up. They had massive blood blisters on the bottom of their feet. In hindsight, it's something I should've went back and checked, but I didn't think to check the bottoms of spikes, I would hope they would know. It's firm, it's dry. You only need a quarter-inch spike. Nobody had a problem last week. It happens. It's part of racing. It's difficult to have everybody click on the same day. Let's hope it's a long season and we can improve on where we're at."

Chesterton had Cole Dolson (fifth) and Josh Dennington (seventh) in the top 10 with Matthrew Streeter 11th.

"First impression, I think I was pleasantly surprised by the top group, how they hung in there," assistant coach Tom Moeller said. "The race went out really fast. The front two kind of pulled everybody with them. Our guys ran faster than probably they would have, which makes for a tough race, but they handled it well. Behind the top three, the rest of the top group ran about what we expected. We haven't run anything this fast for a while, and it showed. It was nice to run against a good team and say, OK, do we measure up? I think we felt pretty good that way. Our top three were in with their top guys."

La Porte (115) struggled beyond Raymond's third-place finish.

"Our three, four, five were a little too far back," Slater said. "They're trying to learn and work. In years past, we'd run phenomenal here and we were like, where do you go from here? This year, we've got a different perspective. It's a day-to-day, week-to-week process."

As meet host, Slater was relieved it went off without any issues, given the restrictions and protocols resulting from COVID-19.

"I'm happy that it's over," he said. "I was telling the athletes I'm sorry for not being able to coach too much. There was a lot of thought going in to trying to make this the best it could be. Early on, we had the option of running 12 kids and no JV, but I really wanted to get a chance for those kids who haven't been able to race for months. They deserve it as much as anyone else. It was really cool to get that many kids out. I thought we did a really good job of keeping people safe, keeping them separated, kids wearing masks when they need to. We just had to try dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. It couldn't have been any better. It was nice to have some form of normalcy."

Crown Point's Anthony Saberniak, left, took fourth and Chesterton's Cole Dolson placed fifth in Saturday's Jack Bransford Invitational at Kesling Park. (Photos by Jim Peters)

Elsewhere on Saturday, Justin Van Prooyen and Brady Vroom went one-two to lead Illiana Christian to the Bearcat Invitational title at Wheeler. At Hebron, Morgan Township edged Hanover Central 55-63 for team honors. Washington Township's Tyler Hachey (third) was the top local finisher.

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