Riley Gatzke is no stranger to the state cross country meet.
Growing up the son of head coach Chris Gatzke, the Ripon High School junior saw plenty of athletes — including his brother, Jay — compete at the highest level.
Come Saturday, he will add his name to the list of those who have represented the Tigers at state.
Riley was Ripon’s lone qualifier for the meet, which will take place in Wisconsin Rapids. It marks the 22nd time in the last 24 years that the Tigers have sent at least one athlete.
The junior finished seventh overall and fifth among runners who didn’t qualify as a member of a team last week Saturday at the Mayville Division 2 Sectional with a time of 17 minutes, 5 seconds.
The meet took place at Tuscumbia Golf Club in Green Lake after flooding last month damaged Mayville Golf Course.
“He has been [to state] several times as a spectator,” Chris Gatzke said of his son. “This will obviously be the first time he’s there competing at state, but he was there when his brother ran with a team his freshman year. He was there to watch Seth [Zimdars] last year. So he’s been there and he’s got an idea of what the course is like, he knows what the competition is like and he knows what the atmosphere is like … There will still be a ‘wow’ factor because it’s different when you’re on the other side.”
Read the full story, which includes information on how the rest of the Tigers did at the meet, in the Oct. 27, 2016 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.