Chris Carter is admittedly not the best runner on his own team. So how is it then that Carter has topped the list of finishers for Grand Island in each of its Niagara Frontier League races thus far this season?

“Evan (Tsembelis) has backed off at the end and let me win the races,” Carter said. “He doesn’ have to do it, but he does. I don’t think any other team’s top runner would do that for a teammate.”

Tsembelis, a junior, allows the senior, Carter, to finish ahead of him as a show of respect for his good friend. Carter, who has spent countless hours working out with Tsembelis, said he’s very grateful to have such a good relationship.

“Evan has helped me a lot,” he said. “He’s the one who has pulled me through it all.”

Veteran GI coach Don Sauer believes the relationship is a byproduct of the team’s leadership the past few seasons.

“Evan learned a lot from Tim Fargino last year and this year with Chris, I think there’s a respect-type thing there since they’ve worked so hard together,” he said. “I think the relationship has made them both better.”

With Fargino gone, Carter knew he needed to step up his workouts and that he did this past year as he kept incorporating more and more miles to his workouts. He also moved to a plan that included workouts twice a day.

Vikings assistant coach Jon Lacki, a former runner at Niagara University, said that Carter’s increased workload is one of the main reasons the team has bolted out to an undefeated start heading into today's key NFL dual meet against fellow-unbeaten Lockport at Beaver Island.

“He really set himself and the team up to have a monster season,” Lacki said.

The Vikings will be down their No. 3 man today, but Carter still believes if Tsembelis can beat out Lockport’s Drew Perilli for the top spot and the back end of GI’s starting five can be better than LHS’, GI will come out on top.

“I know we have a good enough team to pull through this and win,” he said.

Carter, who’s best time of the season is 16 minutes, 38 seconds, is also hoping that his magical senior year continues into November for the NFL and Section VI Championships. He wouldn’t mind being the team captain of the first GI team to take home a Section VI team title in over a decade, either.

Carter is looking into joining the military next year and if he were to attend an Academy that had cross country, he’d definitely be interested in giving it a shot.

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