The TK cross country team returned to OK Gold competition runner the athletic fields, hills, and wooded trails of Wayland Middle School. The course is one of the toughest in the area and with several days of rain prior to the race and muggy weather conditions added additional challenging elements. Several runners finished the race with one shoe in hand as the thick mud pulled their shoes from their feet. The competition was also very tough with Grand Rapids Christian and East Grand Rapids fighting it out to the finish line. They are very deep and talented squads. Our TK boys ran personally strong races but this was a day that personal best times were not going to be earned but rather improving their prior OK Gold race position was the goal. When comparing our prior race to today’s race, many runners improved their finishing position by running a more controlled start through the first mile and setting targets throughout the race gaining ground. Our team goal was to settle into a pace but frequently surge to pass runners who were within range. Nick Bushman improved his overall conference standing with an 8th place finish. As a team, we gained ground on GR South Christian, who we will also compete against at our MHSAA Regional meet.
The TK Cross Country team next competes at the Portage Invitational on Saturday, October 6th. This is one of the largest cross country meets in the country and seen by many as a predictor of MHSAA individual and team qualifiers. Although not the flattest of courses, runners typically run fast here because they step up the talented competition.