Cross country team heading into Conference Championship


This past weekend was the Kent County Championship taking place at the Gainey Fields for the Ranger cross country team. Both teams having ran the course before, they knew their tactics and strategies on how to go about the race. There were twenty-two teams running in the boys race and sixteen teams running in the girls race. The boys team finished just below Grandville, with 160 points and in fifth place overall. The girls team finished in fourth place with 128 points, beating out Forest Hills Eastern. Seeing the Rangers moving up places on both teams, it is easy to see improvements.

“Having already run the course at Gainey before, it has paid off big for the team” says head coach Ryan Schipper. “Even though we have raced under poor conditions both times, the majority of runners improved their times greatly the second time.”

Going into all four races, it was hard for the runners not to be anxious. The terrain was very hilly and the rain did not make this any better. There was mud throughout the entire course which made it very difficult for the runners to run without slipping. Hearing this, many would think that this race was a bust. But, to the majority of the runners on the team, this was the most exciting meet of the season.

“The mud brings out the fun of cross country,” Schipper says. “Everyone races in the same conditions and you get to see some exciting tactical races. On a day where every team did not see many personal best time, we had a few Rangers that had their best time of the season including Emma Hanson and Zach Devries.”

Emma Hansen and Zach Devries are both underclassman on the cross country team. Throughout the season they have worked hard to push their teammates and continue their success on the team. In addition to these two specific people, the majority of the underclassman are the top runners on the team including the top five runners for both boys and girls sides.

“The underclassman have been great this season,” says Schipper. “We have had a youth movement the last few years and the kids have bought in early. They have already tasted some success this year which will fuel these teams in years to come.”

As these runners continued to work hard throughout the season, they are preparing for one race: the Conference Championship. This race will be taking place on Wednesday, October 18th at Cedar Springs High School.

“I am expecting the team to run fast,” says Schipper. “We have cut the mileage and the weather looks promising on that day. The course at Cedar Springs is relatively flat and many runners agree that it is a fast course.”

At this point in the season, runners have been preparing for almost two months and are expected to see great times at this race. The team has ran this course before and is familiar with the terrain and how to pace themselves.