Indian Rocks Christian School’s Cross Country Program is familiar with success. Our boys Cross Country teams have placed in the Top 9 at the State Meet six times since 2001. This year, our program brought home the 2021 FHSAA Class 1A Boys Cross Country State Championship title, inching past the competition with just a 12-point margin.
The team was led by Senior Mateo Luna, with a top ten finish at 16:29.40. The Eagles team captain has been competing with our school since 6th grade. He holds the school record for the 1600 race where he ranks first in the state. Next to cross the finish line was sophomore Aidan Griffin, finishing in 17th place overall (16:58.60). Additionally, sophomores Nicholas Zamora (17:04.70) and Charlie LaBrant (17:26.00), freshman Blake Young (17:05.60), and seniors Landon Young (17:21.60) and Riley Welch (17:21.60) all helped the Eagles ensure the win.
Soon after our team’s big win, IRCS Cross Country Coach Bobby LaBrant added another State win to the record book when he was named Coach of the Year by FL Mile Split with an impressive 17,231 votes. LaBrant has 15 years of coaching experience and 25 years as a teacher at our school. He is a seasoned coach who is beloved by all. When asked about our team’s big win, he said,
“Winning the State Championship is something that we thought was a possibility, but it was not our main focus. Our saying for the team is, ‘Running is not the most important thing.’ Our faith, family, school, and friends are more important to us. Don’t get me wrong, we work hard for success, but not to the point that we neglect the things that will last past running.”
With this encouragement from Coach LaBrant, our team has established an enduring legacy. Since 2012, IRCS Cross Country teams have qualified for the state championship meet, which is the most consecutive years any Pinellas County school has qualified for state. It appears our team is not quite finished yet. Our Boy’s Cross Country team is currently ranked 2nd in the state going into next year. Additionally, our program has a bright future for many years ahead with runners like junior Bricen Columbia; sophomores Nicholas Zamora, Charlie LaBrant, Aidan Griffin, and Garret Anderson; and freshmen Ethan Esposito and Cooper Ryan.