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Lake Central's lucky pennies

ST. JOHN -- Snack packs are part of the weekly routine for cross country parents.

Last week at La Porte's Kesling Park, the Lake Central girls team got a little more than usual from the Kollard family.

"I see a lot of the kids on a daily basis," said Kristina Collard, who teaches English, Journalism, Broadcasting, Design and Photography classes at the high school. "My daughter (Grace) has been running cross country since middle school. It's such a great group, I wanted to do something special for them. Buying something big for 40 girls sometimes is expensive, so I had to come up with something small that they could all have."

With an idea she picked up online, she decided to give each runner a penny that had the center taken out so they could thread it onto the lace of a running shoes. Accompanying each penny was a poem that read, 'Take this lucky penny and tie it to your shoe. On the day you need it, it will be here for you. At the starting line, look down and you will see this little lucky penny leading you to victory!"

"Forty pennies was pretty cheap," Collard said. "Maybe we had to buy a little drill bit that cost five bucks. My husband (Craig) filed it down to make the hole smooth. I talked to my daughter, she was like, come on, mom; then, it was, oh, the girls really liked them. A couple parents said real nice things. The coaches loved them. I just wanted the kids to have a little keepsake, something cute that they could wear or look at and think of the team as a whole."

Grace said her mom showed her a picture and she liked the idea.

"She wanted to make it unique," Grace said. "I didn't know if everybody else would like the idea. It was actually really cute. We handed them out and I think everybody else liked them, too. I saw a couple girls wearing them. Mine was on my spikes. I saved the little sign and hung it up in my room."

Some of the girls laced the penny to their warm-up/cool-down shoes, while others had it on their racers.

"I thought it was inspirational," Essey Gonzalez said. "It made me feel like I had good luck. It was really nice of her to do it."

L.C. coach Morgan Kleinaman appreciated the gesture. And since runners tend to have their superstitions and routines, nobody's going to be inclined to change things up for next week at Harrison (West Lafayette) since the Indians won their Rudy Skorupa Invitational on Saturday at the high school.

"It was a surprise to me as well," Kleinaman said. "It's a team bonding thing. It's been hot this week. You look down, it's just a reminder, you have a team behind you, you can do this."


Members of the Lake Central girls cross country team received lucky pennies

from the Collard family as a bonus surprise in their post-race snack pack last

week at Kesling Park in La Porte. Some wore it on their race shoe and others

laced it to their practice shoe for Saturday's Rudy Skorupa Invitational.

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