Wednesday, October 01, 2014

OHS runners to be challenged in every race

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 8/25/2014

The Ottawa High School cross country runners will be challenged all season by either the course or top-flight competition.

Ottawa runs three times at home on the Eisenhower course.

The Ottawa High School cross country runners will be challenged all season by either the course or top-flight competition.

Ottawa runs three times at home on the Eisenhower course.

The Cyclones will run league at the famed Rim Rock course and compete at Wyandotte County Park.

The other course is at Baldwin.

“We have Baldwin squeezed in there,” Ottawa coach Chris Kornhaus said. “It is not a difficult course, but when you run against Baldwin that is a challenge. One way or the other, either the course or the competition is tough. They need to mentally prepare for it.”

Ottawa runs three of its first four meets at home. Ottawa opens the season Sept. 4 with a dual against Bonner Springs. It will be a two-mile race.

The dual was put together a few years ago to let the runners ease into the season with a low-key meet.

The second competition will be a home triangular with Spring Hill and Louisburg on Sept. 11.

“It is a new meet,” Kornhaus said. “We will run the 4K and 5K [course] the second week.”

Kornhaus said both teams wanted to come and run on the hilly Eisenhower course.

The third meet is at Bonner Springs. Kornhaus said the competition level went up with a number of 6A schools added to the field.

“They have upped the game there,” he said.

Ottawa will have experience, but not much depth. Only nine boys and six girls came out.

“We have a solid core of guys,” Kornhaus said. “We have six guys back from last year.”

The Ottawa boys qualified as a team for the second straight year for the 4A state meet.

The returners are Sam Smith, Brandon Yates, Josh Christian, Alex Currier, Brandon Nanninga and Drew Birzer.

“One of the keys is going to be if can we stay healthy,” Kornhaus said. “We have some guys that have made improvements. We can be real competitive.”

Yates will miss the first part of the season recovering from a broken collarbone.

The girls return three runners from last year. They are Sharissa Daw, Kennadee Huskey and Jessie Winsky. Kornhaus said there is a big gap behind that trio

“It is going to be an uphill battle on the girls side,” Kornhaus said. “We may not be running a full team in the varsity race [at Bonner Springs].”

Kornhaus said the runners have put in the time and mileage, but need to amp up the preparation.

“We are in that transition period,” he said. “The effort has to go up even more. We are inside two weeks of racing.”

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