Cross Country is truly a unique sport. It is something you can use for the rest of you life to stay physically fit, as well as a way for students to condition themselves for any other sport they may participate in. Just as in other sports conditioning and training has increased over the years, making it almost impossible to compete at a high level without training nearly year round. Cross Country is an individual sport in that each team member sets and accomplishes goals and places in a meet. XC though, is also very much a team sport in that the placement numbers of the top 5 runner's are added together to form a team total. The team with the lowest number is the winner.
XC is a unique sport as well, in that every member from 1 to 60ish is involved by bringing positive energy each day, encouraging others, and setting and accomplishing goals. I did not run XC in high school and was simply a self made long distance runner, but many of my siblings did. After going to some of these meets I was immediately attracted to, and fell in love with this sport. It gives so many young people an opportunity to be a part of a team and work hard to accomplish goals they are proud of, that they otherwise would not have had.
Running can also be used in so many ways as an example in spiritual and life experiences. After caring almost exclusively about basketball in my high school and college years and feeling like I would some day like to be a coach of some sort, I would have thought that it would have been that sport. I am now 100% confident that I have the best coaching job in the school!! That is because of the things mentioned above, and because I feel with all my heart that I get some the best kids, along with some the best parents in the school.
As members of our churches, and school student bodies it is very important to know our history and how we got to where we are today. In the same way as student athletes, I believe it is a good thing for the CCHS XC teams of today to look back on the history of the teams and runners that came before them. For these, "Blazed the trail" and played a big part in getting CCHS XC to where it is today. CCHS had its first XC team in 1969. This first team was coached by Mr. D. Korhorn. After a year off in 1970, the team picked back up again in 1971 and was coached by Mr. C. Reitsma from 1971-75. Mr. Reitsema stepped down as coach and from 1976-80 the team was lead by Mr. H. Langerak. In 1979 under Mr. Langerak the team had it's first female runner, Joan Oomkes. Sadly during the decade of the 80's and the first part of the 90's XC ceased to exist at CCHS.
Somewhere around 1994 the XC program was kick started again by Mr. Keven Vanengen. He coached the team through the 1997 season. Mr. Carl Kalsbeek then took over and coached the team from 1998-2000. In 2001 the now Rev. B. Huizenga took over coaching the team and did so until 2004. It was during his time as coach that I believe XC was taken to the next level at CCHS. In 2003 the team first qualified for the state meet, in 2004 the team won it's
first regional championship. Rev. Huizenga will also tell you that coaching XC at CCHS played a part in God guiding him to become a minister of the Word in our churches.
After Coach Huizenga stepped down the team continued to thrive under the coaching of Mr. Dan Schipper. He coached the team through the 2008 season. Under the guidance of Mr. Schipper the team qualified for the state finals each year from 2005-07, and finished 4th in the Division 4 finals at Michigan International Speedway in 2006. Female runner's were few and far between on XC teams, but under the leadership of Mr. Schipper in 2007 CCHS had it's first official women's team. That has continued until today.
Brian Kalsbeek then began coaching the team in 2009 and has been doing so until the present. During the 2013 season our girls team qualified for the state meet as a team for the very first time and in 2014 the boys team won it's second Regional championship, this time in division 3. His boys team also qualified for the state finals in 2015, and the girls did so in 2016, 17, & 18.
In 2009 with many of the team's top runner's graduating and a new head coach coming in, it was a bit of a struggle to get runner's to come back. I began my first season with 7 boy runner's and just 2 girls. By the end of that first season we had begged enough girls to run in order to have a full team. We had a total of 12 runners. Today now, 10 fast year's later CCHS XC has grown to it's biggest, with nearly 60 runners. This is a testament to those who have come before us, to what this sport can do for CCHS student athletes, and to the positive energy our runner's as well as their parents bring to the team each XC season.
Click on the link for a list of some CCHS XC runners from the past: