This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rensselaer Cross Country Invite 2009

Saturday was a busy day in Rensselaer. In addition to the Little Cousin Jasper Festival and the Antique Flea Market Farm Toy Show at the Fairgrounds, the high school hosted the annual Rensselaer Central Cross Country Invitational. It has a number--something like 30th annual--but I do not know which one it is because this year I did not get a tee shirt.

When I got there, about 8:15, the first race was finishing--the sixth and seventh grade boys were coming through the finishing chute. When I worked the meet, the finish was north west of the baseball field. Now it is between the baseball field and the tennis courts. Because this is a big race, the finishing chute is long. When the pack hits, the officials need to get the kids into the chute in the order that they finish so that everyone gets the proper placement. (I guess none of that would be necessary if they used shoe chips to time the race, but they still do it the old-fashioned way.)
Here is the finish line, the start of the chute. In the ten or so years in which I worked at this meet, I was usually at the finish line. I did whatever was necessary, which often was not much. Extra people are needed for those special times when everything happens at once--a pack finishes together and kids want to pass others after the finish line, another kids vomits because he ran so hard, and a third kid collapses. Then you need lots of people to sort everything out.

One of my jobs was usually to time the last four or five runners so that the official clocks could be reset for the next race. I remember one year when one kid finished in the middle of the next race. He apparently had sat down and rested a while during the race.

The second race of the day was the eighth-grade-girls race. Here they come. Judging from this picture, most of the middle-school teams in the meet this year must have had red uniforms. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)
The Rensselaer Invite is an unusual cross country meet. Instead of the normal teams, the squads are divided by year in school. So the freshmen boys run in a separate race from the sophomore boys. There are only two divisions of high school girls, freshman-sophomore and junior-senior. I guess there are just not as many girl cross country runners as boy cross country runners. It is also unusual because it has both high school and middle school teams.

Here is what the meet looked like from the top of the bleachers for the football field. There are a few runners on the course--they are on the white line above the fence. Most of the people are either watching the race or are playing around waiting for their race to begin.
Cross country is a hard sport to watch because the runners are usually out of view. I found that working at the meets was a really good way to attend the meet. Plus, I got a tee shirt each year for my five or six hours at the Invite.


reMark said...

35th year to be exact.

flatbow said...

Ah, the good old Rensselaer Invite, the meet that reveals whether you trained during the summer or not! I had some pretty good races at that meet in my years of cross country with a third or fourth place finish my senior year (I went on to beat the guys who bested me later on in the season when it really counts, mwuhahaha!)