Ottawa finished second, two points ahead of De Soto. It is the highest finish ever in the Frontier League for the boys.
“We have practiced out here twice a week,” Ottawa sophomore Brandon Yates, who finished 10th, said. “We got the hills down. A lot of the other guys, it kills them on the hills. It really helps out. This is a confidence-booster.”
Ottawa coach Chris Kornhaus said breaking down every segment of the race in practice made a difference.
“Why do you think we practice here,” he said. “Why do we talk about every segment about what you are going to do. How you are going to run up the hill. How are you going to run over the hill. How are you going to run down the hill. They are probably tired of running from the top of the hill to the finish line. We worked on every segment of the race.”
Kornhaus said the team showed progress in the mental aspect of racing.
“That is what I have been waiting on for a long time,” Kornhaus said. “We have talked a million times about having an actively engaged mind while you are running. And doing the things we have done in practice.”
The squad worked together as a unit with Sam White finishing 11th and Gabe Skoog, 14th, and Josh Christian, 15th.
Kornhaus said, “We really made improvement this year in working together as a group. We have been working on that practice. We have been working on pacing and being in more control at start of races. You are not going to win a 5K race by going out [quick] on the first quarter.”
Kornhaus said Yates, who has been injured, is a competitor.
The girls finished seventh and have been plagued by injuries.
“The girls have had a struggle this year,” Kornhaus said. “They have to commit to getting into the weight room this winter. We have to get stronger so we can handle the pounding. We have had some girls make some nice improvement.”
10, Yates, 18:06; 11, Sam White, 18:10; 14, Skoog, 18:25; 15, Christian, 18:30; 20, Daniel White, 18:43; 29, Nanninga, 19:15; 31, Miller, 19:26.
31, Huskey, 18:35; 32, Winsky, 18:40; 35, Daw, 18:44; 48, Manis, 19:52; 55, Pruitt, 20:35.