ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Darin Lau inspires running at E.C. Immanuel

The Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran cross country team is fresh off a third place finish at the Division 3 state championship. Only the second time in school history that the Lancers qualified to state as a team, and it's in large part to Darin Lau who led his team with a runner-up finish.

"Being the number one runner on a team that got third, is just something I never thought I'd be a part of," says Darin Lau.

Lau may not have imagined his current success but his talent was recognized from the moment he stepped into the program.

"And then here all of a sudden is Darrin, he breaks 18 his freshman year by a lot, than he's breaking 17, then he's breaking 16 and it just makes you think we can get up to the level of these other schools, gives other kids confidence, makes other kids want to run," says head coach David Ube.

The senior who makes running look effortless, doesn't just lead races...he leads the underclassmen.

"I think he sets a perfect example for them, just to do what he does and go out there and give it all you got," says teammate, Zack Sippert.

"He always inspires us to work harder and he can keep the same pace for a very long time," adds Caleb Oster.

Rumor has it that Lau was the reason the school of 120 students added a track and field program last spring.

"I mean if it's true that they did this because of me, I feel blessed that the school would do that," says Lau. "And I'm excited to see how our school will adapt to track and field because I can tell a lot of our students are excited about it."

In the school's debut at the outdoor state meet, Lau won the 2mile and placed 6the in the mile.

"Obviously the pressure is on me to compete for the title in the 3200 and I'm gonna try to do better at the 1600," says Lau.

Stout, Park side, Eau Claire, and Boise State are in the mix for Lau's future education, as are the hopes for faster times.

"As he gets to the longer distances in college, 8ks and 10ks, he's going to keep getting better. And even beyond that if he wants to pursue it after college," says Ube.

"I want to kind of get on a team where I'm not the best but I can contribute right away and can help a team be a lot better," adds Lau.

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