MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The juggernaut that is the DeLaSalle football team is in the state tournament this weekend for the third year in a row, and the sixth time in the last seven years.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at a box score or even watching a game, but as WCCO’s David McCoy says, a big reason for that success is a wide receiver who rarely plays, has never scored a touchdown, and sets an example for the entire team.

When you watch DeLaSalle, you see a prolific offense, a suffocating defense and some of the top players in the state.

But look closer, toward the sideline, and you’ll see the player coach Sean McMenomy says works harder than anyone he’s ever been around.

“A true competitor, a true winner,” McMenomy said. “She’s fearless.”

That’s right — she. A girl. On the football team. At wide receiver, of all positions.

“I was like, why not? Why not try something new? Why not me?” Carte said. “I just wanted to really challenge the faith I had in myself, as well as the faith that maybe other people had in me.”

Christina Carte will be the first to tell you it hasn’t been easy.

“Not only does football challenge you physically, but it also challenges you emotionally. And being a female on the football team can be pretty hard sometimes,” Carte said.

But rewarding?

“Oh, heck yeah. Yeah, definitely,” Carte said.

And as a senior, she’s been rewarded with a spot on the varsity team.

“She’s earned it,” McMenomy said.

And she wants to show other girls that they belong here too.

“I’ve always considered myself to be someone to break barriers,” Carte said.

That is why she’s been so important to DeLaSalle. Her presence, her attitude, her example forces her teammates to challenge their own ideas of what they’re capable of.

It challenges them to question their own limitations and too break their own barriers.

“Everybody who’s around her has really learned from her and really found inspiration, saying, ‘Hey, you know what, how did I make myself better today?’ And she is the epitome of what that means,” McMenomy said.

“It’s not all about stats. It’s not looking for college recruiters or how many minutes I’m getting in on the games and stuff. But it’s all about, how can I be there for my team? How can I work to my highest potential to better the team?” Carte said.

DeLaSalle squares off against Cloquet Friday in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

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