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LeBahn ends high school cross country career with fourth run at State

November 7, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

For four seasons with Union boys cross country, Lake LeBahn has been the standard for running in the program. The La Porte native has won numerous meets over his career, won a District championship and became the first runner under coach Justin Parson to reach the State Cross Country Meet in Fort Dodge all four years.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, LeBahn ran his last race at State, placing seventh overall and was honored in the top 15 in his final run as a Knight. Over his career, LeBahn finished 30th in 3A in 2016 as a freshman, fifth in 2A in 2017, 12th as a junior.

"When Lake qualified as a freshman, we were in 3A and the competition was stiffer," Parson said. "We knew we had someone special when he qualified that year. Once you taste success and know how to get their, you want to continue. Lake knew he had to keep competing no matter if it was 3A or 2A competition. Sophomore year was great for him and he did a great things."

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Lake LeBahn ended his high school cross country career with a 7th place finish a time of 16:37.

Ask LeBahn about his junior year and he will tell you it "wasn't his best year." The 2018 season was severely shortened due to weather, which further inhibited his ability further. While finishing 12th was still an honor for LeBahn, he promised to get better in 2019.

"Originally, I saw my senior year as just getting better every day," LeBahn said. "Eventually, it turned into a chance to do really well at State and took that into my mindset. I didn't want the little things to get to me. I started winning races again and leading my team because I wanted them with me at State."

Yet this season came with new responsibilities as a senior leader alongside Lane Hennings, Jon Bronner and Jack Thomsen. The Knights wanted to qualify for State as a team this season, which would require placing in the top three at Districts. Leadership would be needed to reach this goal.

"We talked about leadership," Parson said. "He didn't end last season the way he wanted and we wanted to be on the same page in terms of going out with a bang. Lake set the bar for what it takes. Lane [Hennings] was always trying to keep up with Lake. In practice, Lake would push people through practice when it got tough. He set a great example for the freshmen and in return they wanted to go see him run at State."

After winning the NICL Conference Meet for the first time since his sophomore year, LeBahn and the Knights set their sights on Districts and qualifying as a team. Union would finish seventh at the meet at Dike as circumstances outside of their control kept them from qualifying. However, LeBahn would win the District championship as an individual, a first for him.

"Winning the District championship meant a lot to me, yet I was sad because my team didn't move on with me," LeBahn said. "Those guys worked really hard to get there. The ones who came to support me on Saturday will hopefully be there themselves one day."

LeBahn walked out on the familiar course at Fort Dodge one last time on Saturday. He knew the layout, the structure of the meet and that if did his job right, he would stand among the top 15 once again on the clubhouse patio. This year, however, Parson had a different piece of advice for the senior.

"Enjoy it, it's the last one you're going to get," Parson said. "No matter how it goes-great, average, not so great-take some time to enjoy Saturday. Someday, he'll look back at these years and realize he did some impressive stuff. Not many people get this opportunity."

As he ran his final State meet, LeBahn established himself as the leader early. As he came into the final half-mile, LeBahn's lead slipped away. He would finish seventh overall with a time of 16:37, 23 seconds quicker than last season.

"I didn't get hard out of the box, but I got to be that top pack," LeBahn said. "I ended up a little ahead and ran into the wind, which I feel slowed me down. I ran a good time and I am pretty satisfied with that State meet. I think I gave it everything I got. It felt good to be back in the times I'm used to run in my sophomore year."

For the third time in his career, LeBahn found himself on the clubhouse podium as he was called up for finishing in the top 15 in 2A. In his final race, LeBahn once again represented the Knights in respectable fashion Parson was proud of.

"I'm proud of him for his accomplishments," Parson said. "As far as talent goes, Lake is the most talented I've ever had. Wherever he decides to go, they'll be lucky to have him. It takes a lot of commitment, mental toughness and drive on days you don't really want to run. The sport is already taxing already, but the constant grind of running help him appreciate the good days."

LeBahn is currently considering several colleges to continue his running career, seeking a "family atmosphere" while planning to study Biology. He also is preparing for his final wrestling season after making the State tournament in February and will be a big part of the Union track team as they seek to rebuild.



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