An honest day’s work
NEW CARLISLE — Most days, by the time Brandon and Jacob Corbett get to New Prairie cross country practice, the senior brothers have already put in at least a few hours of work.
That’s life on the farm for the Cougars’ senior distance runners, whose family lives on 600 acres of land in rural La Porte County.
“Sometimes, you get tired, but it teaches you how to get work done when you need to,” Brandon said. “It definitely helps with running.”
The Corbetts have beef and dairy cattle, and the boys’ daily routine includes milking and feeding the cows as well as any general maintenance that needs to be tended to on the property.
“You get a good work ethic, just getting stuff done,” Jacob said. “Putting in the extra work on the farm, it’s the same as on the cross country course. You have to put it all out there. The more you do, the faster you run.”
In addition to their chores at home, the brothers work on a dairy farm across the road, alternating days off on the weekend, when they squeeze in a little personal life around meets during the season. In the summer, they’ll often start the day on the farm, switch out of their jeans and boots for practice, then return to work afterward.
“We go home and feed the cows, help with whatever we can, and hopefully get to bed on time, around 10,” Brandon said.
It’s the same blue collar approach that has enabled him to carve out a varsity spot on the team.
“I didn’t have as much (talent) as (Jacob) starting off,” Brandon said. “He was definitely way better than I was. It was more just hard work for me.”
Both long-time 4H’ers, neither Corbett had great interest in cross country prior to high school. Jacob went back and forth with it in elementary school and didn’t run in middle school, trying his hand at baseball and football. Brandon didn’t run at all until seventh-grade track, and first joined cross country as a freshman.
“Coach (John Arndt) kept telling me I’m a good runner,” Jacob said. “After I came back, I’ve liked it ever since. (I like) the team bonding.”
Fourth or fifth in the lineup last season, Brandon expects to be fourth this season. New Prairie’s top runner as a sophomore, Jacob ran second to Jarrod Michael last year, when his training was limited by shin problems.
“I was on the bike 24-7,” Jacob said. “I didn’t get in much training. I started around the time of the (New Prairie) Invite. I’m feeling good now.”
With no plans to run after high school -- Jacob is leaning toward a job in the trades, and Brandon looks to work in the mill or NIPSCO -- the brothers aim to finish their careers on a high note, both individually and as a team.
“I feel like the team is a lot stronger,” Jacob said. “We want to try to get to state our last year.”
The Cougars reached semistate last fall, placing 11th. The top six teams advance.
“I want to try to go out with a bang,” Brandon said, “get my name on the walls around here.”