BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Elk Lake coach Will Squier, along with many volunteers, spent the past few weeks fine-tuning the Warrior cross country course to hold the District II championships today at 12 p.m.
Squier said that his first priority in getting prepared for the venture was to make sure the course was up to par.
“The number one thing for us was making sure the course was up to standards,” Squier said. “Making sure it was wide enough, groomed and well marked. I wanted to make it a fair and objective course for the runners.”
Several hundred runners from 41 schools within District II Class AA and Class AAA will take off to decide the top runners in the region.
The volume of runners was a main consideration for Squier, as he wanted to make sure that there were no pinch points and bottlenecks for the runners.
In addition to the course looking good, He also wanted to make sure it was spectator friendly.
“When I built the course I wanted to encourage the crowd by making it spectator friendly,” Squier said.
He noted that there are points on the course where spectators can watch the runners pass by four to five times without having to move.
“Its accessible for people that don’t want to move around a lot,” Squier said. “And even though the spectator isn’t moving, the runners aren’t running the same loop either.”
Squier said that for people who want to be more mobile, the one mile point is less than a 100-yard walk from the runners’ starting point.
“The main thing was making the course good for the runners first, but also good for spectators and coaches,” Squier said.
Along with grooming the course, other considerations for holding the event had to be made.
Squier said that he decided on a tent area that is along an access road near the course where each school can set up shop.
Also, he wanted to make it easy for the PIAA officials by marking lines, setting up flags and a tent for officials.
Squier also said there will be a 20-foot by 30-foot tent where the athletic trainer, along with media outlets will have a place to work.
All concessions for the event will be run by the food management department from Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center, which is based on Elk Lake’s campus.
Squier said that all proceeds from the event will go towards a trip to Europe for the students.
“It will be great for people attending, and also a great learning experience for the students,” Squier said.
Bleachers will also be readily available for spectators along the finish line, and a podium with a Public Address System will be set up for the trophy ceremony.
“I’m really just trying to make it a nice event,” Squier said.
Volunteers from the Career and Technology center, along with parents and Elk Lake teachers will help out with logistical concerns like parking.
Squier said that when Elk Lake was chosen to host the event, he didn’t realize how much time it would take to prepare the event.
“It consumes pretty much all of my spare time,” Squier said. “But it’s something I enjoy doing.”
Squier noted that several organizations and people have helped out with donating time and equipment.
Taylor Rental in Montrose, Cabot Oil and Gas, Agawam Farms, Willagrove Farm and Maple Hills Golf Course have all donated either money, time or equipment to helping get the event in order.
He also noted that school board president Chuck Place and superintendent Bill Bush have been extremely supportive, along with athletic director Tony Blaisure and Brian Mallory.
“Really the whole community has been supportive,” Squier said. “And I think we’ll have a great turnout just based on that.”
Throughout the process, Squier said he has encouraged schools competing in districts to come up and train on the course.
“I’ve kept it very open throughout the process,” Squier said. “And have had a steady flow of teams coming to workout on the course.”