WO cross country conference meet

WO cross country conference meet

Linus Gugino

The West Ottawa Cross Country team is getting ready for their final conference meet at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids.  Every year, scores of runners set new personal records at this race, and it is a course well liked by many WO runners and their coach Chris Knoll.


Senior Aaron Weimer, WO’s number one runner, enjoys the race at Riverside.  “Courses with hills, jumps, sand, mud, or even pavement are considered bad.  There is no pavement or big hills at Riverside; it’s flat, it’s fast, and we run against the fastest teams in the state, so it’s a very decent course.”  Senior captains Logan Reimink and Otto Dryfhout agree.  “I think the Riverside course is a great course to have conference at. It’s a flat and fast course,” Reimink said.  “Also, the course is a simple loop, making it seem fast,” Dryfhout said.  


From a coach’s point of view, the course is good for different reasons.  “The course at Riverside Park is very ‘spectator friendly,”’meaning those who are watching races can easily see the start, the finish, the 1 mile mark and the 2 mile mark,” Knoll said.  This also makes it easy for all of the coaches to record all of the runners first and second mile times, as well as finishing time.


This Riverside course is not all perfect, though.  “The only downsides to the course are the fact that is is very low ground that can get flooded easily if there is rain and the fact that runners have to cross pavement, including curbs, twice during the race,” Knoll said.


However, those two things don’t ruin the race, and there are much worse courses that WO runners compete at during the season.  “The course I hate the most is at Unity Christian since it’s so hilly,” Reimink said.  For Knoll the course where the second conference meet was held was the worst.  “It was nearly impossible to get to the 2 mile mark and then back for the finish.”


The course does have a lot to do with the performance of a runner, but it is not everything.  “When racing, it’s all about the place and time, so I’m never concerned with what the course looks like, I could care less if we were in a city running.  But it also depends on your mood. If you LOVE the course, your mind will tell you do do great, and then you will perform well,”  Wiemer said.


With this being the final race for Junior Varsity of the cross country season, every WO runner is going to give it everything they’ve got to set new personal records and beat the people that they couldn’t before.  Being the final OK Red Conference meet, the competition is some of the toughest in the state,  “But we should be able to do better than 7th place,” said coach Knoll.  Everyone knows though that runners run faster when they have support; come cheer on the WO cross country teams this Thursday at Riverside Park!