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Raymond rolls, CP rebounds at DAC meet

La PORTE -- When it comes to races, patience isn't a virtue of La Porte's Cole Raymond.

"Any time I've been conservative, I just can't start passing people," the Slicers junior said.

At his best as front-runner, Raymond was full throttle from the opening gun in Saturday's Duneland Conference meet at Kesling Park, sprinting to the front and never looking back in logging a personal-best course time of 15 minutes, 48.5 seconds.

"I heard the Valpo coach say I had a 400 split of 62 (seconds)," Raymond said. "I heard that, I thought, oh man, I'm flying. That was the plan. I wanted to break it open right from the gun and lead all the way. I was going to try to get back into my pace. I'm going to be aggressive here on out. I feel that my best strategy is to do that. Home course, home fans, I might as well go right from the gun. This was one of my big goals after I knew conference was here. It's definitely something I marked on the calendar I've been looking to for a really long time."

Raymond crossed just 1.5 seconds off his finish last month at the Harrison Invitational in West Lafayette

"I thought someone would come with me," he said. "I feel like someone tried, the pace was just so fast. I've been doing it the last three weeks. I just wanted to hammer. I don't think I've ever gotten out that fast. I just left the field. Half way, I felt them coming up on me, I don't know what the gap was, they were pretty much on me, coach (Corbin Slater) was screaming gap, gap, gap, three minutes. I put in a surge and felt they were out of sight from there."

Earlier in the season, when Raymond's approach didn't pan out, Slater considered having him try to work off of the pace, but it just didn't go well.

"After Lake Central, it got to the point where I'm thinking, what am I doing to this kid? I was questioning myself big time," Slater said. "I re-evaluated what strategy worked for him. He's a competitor through and through. He gets a lot of excitement by having control of the race. He wants to be in it, he doesn't want others to determine what he's doing. He wants to run his own race. From here on out, he'll be up in front if not at the front, that chase pack at state, if not necessarily winning. We know (Highland's Lucas) Guerra will be at semistate, and he's a force, but that first mile, he's not going to worried about anybody else's race strategy. He's gonna go."

Crown Point captured the team title with 42 points, followed by Lake Central (63), Chesterton (83) and La Porte (102).

"We told Cole (Simmons) and Quinton (Bock), whoever wins, they're going to go sub-16s," CP coach Erik Forehand said. "Another message we had was we don't have to win race as an individual to do well as a team. Quinton and Cole, especially, when you have a guy going out fast like that, don't worry about him, focus on what we can do together as a team and have a great race. Cole (Raymond)'s just a great runner. We semi-expected him to have a great race, attack it and go for a win. That wasn't our top priority. We had a plan as far as what we wanted each guy to do and we did really well with executing that and being confident in it, trusting out training."

Simmons nipped Bock in a sprint to the line, 16:05.7-16:06.1, with Anthony Saberniak sixth (16:24.1), Nathan Murphy

La Porte's Cole Raymond won Saturday's

Duneland Athletic Conference meet at

Kesling Park in 15:48.5.

15th and Evan Turner 16th as all seven Bulldogs posted season bests.

"We took advantage of some great conditions," Forehand said. "One thing we were talking about in practice was just competing with each other. We saw some of that. Cole was a bit upset, Quinton gave him a run for his money at the end of the race. As the season progresses, we like to get some friendly competition going within the team. Don't settle for being the seventh guy or sixth guy on the team, try to move up, see what can do. It's going to make us better."

The outcome was a turnaround from two weeks ago at New Prairie, where Chesterton got the best of CP.

"We went into phase four of our training a couple weeks ago -- that was one of the things we talked about at New Prairie," Forehand said. "We hadn't entered the final phase of our training, the faster stuff's still to come yet, shake this one off, don't think too much about coming up short, keep working, do the best you can and see what happens. I was really proud of the boys and the way they approached the race. They've been talking about DACs the last two weeks like every single day. They've been pretty motivated since New Prairie."

Chesterton coach Tim Ray was disappointed with the backslide after the head-turning performance at New Prairie.

"It was kind of like a false positive, to go with what's going on," Ray said. "We did good, but I don't think Crown Point and LC had their 'A' game going on. I thought they were better. I'm sure they were coming for us and we were not up for the challenge at all. Maybe we thought, oh, we're good, we won New Prairie. In any sport, you have to come prepared, have a little hunger in you, and we were not any of that. It seemed like we were here just to be here, Crown Point and Lake Central were just phenomenal. We know they're both extremely good teams. This is the Duneland Conference. If you don't have your head right, ready to roll, you're going to get stomped."

In the Porter County Conference meet at Boone Grove, Morgan Township continued its dominance, winning the title for the sixth year in a row. The Cherokees scored 35 points to runner-up Hebron's 62, putting three runners in the top five and four in the top, led by champion Owen Thomas (16:43). Washington Township's Tyler Hachey (16:49) was second.

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