Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coach: ‘We have some real competition for spots’

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 8/23/2013

With all seven runners from last year’s state qualifying squad returning, the Ottawa High School boys cross-county team is chasing another state run.

The team finished 10th last season at the state meet and Chris Kornhaus, OHS head cross-country coach, said he thinks his team can do even better this year.

With all seven runners from last year’s state qualifying squad returning, the Ottawa High School boys cross-county team is chasing another state run.

The team finished 10th last season at the state meet and Chris Kornhaus, OHS head cross-country coach, said he thinks his team can do even better this year.

“My biggest expectation is that we are not satisfied with what we did last year and that we set higher goals,” Kornhaus said. “Our league may be the toughest cross-country league in the state, and for the first time on the boys side, we have some real competition for spots.”

The Cyclones team returns its top three runners from last year in Brandon Yates, sophomore, Daniel White, senior, and Sam White, junior. Kornhaus, who begins his 27th year this season as head cross-country coach, said there also are talented newcomers this season who will push for spots in the top seven. The new runners include Gabe Skoog, a senior transfer from Christ Preparatory Academy in Lenexa, and Alex Currier, freshman.

“It will be interesting to see where [Alex] finishes,” Kornhaus said.

Aaron Miller, senior, will also be running cross-country this season. Miller is one of the top athletes on the OHS track team, competing in the 100 meter, 200 meter and quarter-mile run last year.

“He is being recruited by a lot of top colleges as a middle distance runner,” Kornhaus said. “He is out [for cross-country] to improve his middle distance running.”

The girls team did not qualify for state last year, and Kornhaus admits it is a “building year” for the team.

“We had some key injuries last year,” he said. “We are really in a building cycle as far as the girls. We do not have any seniors on the girls side, so we are relatively young. We are working on getting our mileage up, getting physically stronger and understanding that racing requires a lot of intensity.”

The top returners for the girls team include Sharissa Daw, junior, and Rachel Manis, junior.

The first race of the season for both teams is Sept. 7 at Wyandotte County Park. Bonner Springs is host of the duel between its team and OHS. Kornhaus said the duel is different than a normal meet because it is just the two teams competing.

“Instead of a junior varsity race and a varsity race (for boys and girls), there is one boys race and one girls race,” Kornhaus said. “We will use that to determine who is varsity and who is JV. We hosted it last year and Bonner Springs hosts it this year, and then it comes right back to us.”

While the duel race is unlike the invitational races on the OHS cross-country schedule, Kornhaus said it is useful.

“There are a lot of track and cross-country coaches who are realizing we don’t have to do the same thing all the time,” Kornhaus said.

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