Cold, wet weather didn’t dampen area athletes’ performances at the Peabody Invitational cross-country meet Thursday at Topham Farm.
Local schools competing included Hillsboro, Marion, Goessel, Canton-Galva and Peabody-Burns.
Hillsboro—Josh Richert placed third with a personal-best time despite persistent rain to lead the Hillsboro boys. Emily Sechrist won the girls’ race by more than 22 seconds to lead the Trojan girls.
Richert’s time of 17 minutes, 23 seconds was 57 seconds faster than he ran last year at Peabody and 14 seconds faster than his previous best time.
“Josh ran an outstanding race and it was great to see him place so high,” coach Stuart Homes said.
Richert dueled Hesston’s Drew Hageman and Marion’s Jordan Hett for the race victory. The trio finished 22 seconds ahead of the next fastest runner and crossed the finish line within 5 seconds of each other.
Hillsboro placed fifth out of eight teams. Also running for the Trojans in the field of 52 runners were Avery Franz (22nd, 19:35), Jordan Bezdeck (24th, 19:43), J.D. Schmidt (27th, 19:49) and Daniel Gray (44th, 21:48).
“Avery, Jordan and J.D. all put together nice races and seem to be rounding into varsity-medal contending form,” said Holmes. The top 20 finishers received medals.
Sechrist, meanwhile, covered the 4-kilometer course in 15:27, 19 seconds faster than she ran the course last year and only four seconds off her school record from 2011.
Karen Leihy was the only other Trojan to run in the varsity race. She medaled with an 11th-place finish in 17:50.
“Karen was certainly stronger in the second half of the race than last week, so her conditioning is coming along,” Holmes said.
Erin Wiebe (5th, 20:37), Karina Torres (11th, 21:25) and Mary Leihy (19th, 22:22) all earned medals in the junior varsity race.
Marion—The Warrior boys kept on pace despite the inclement weather, tying Clearwater with 75 points for second place at Thursday’s meet but slipping to third overall after the coin toss. Hesston took top honors with 34 points.
“This meet was wet, rainy and cold, but that didn’t slow us down,” said coach Rebecca Hofer. “Everyone fought hard at the end, many of the runners passed one, two, three or more competitors in the last half mile.
“Several of them sprinted the last hundred meters, giving it everything they had, and it showed in their time and places. So many of the runners had awesome race finishes.”
Setting the pace for the Marion boys was senior Jordan Hett, who took silver in the 5-K course in 17 minutes, 20 seconds, a season best. Joining him was Patrick McCarty (11th, 18:30), Jacob Cope (14th, 19:11), Timothy Knolla (19:16), Clark Kroupa (32nd, 20:24) and Quinton Hett (42nd, 21:22). Nicholas Davies ran in the junior varsity race (43rd, 28:10).
Once again freshman McKenzee Remmers earned the best time for the Marion girls, finishing in the top 10 with ninth place in 17:40. Erin Meierhoff also competed (28th, 19:40) in the varsity race, with Shyla Harris running in the junior varsity (12th, 21:35).
Canton-Galva—Eli Janzen ran his personal-best time Thursday, placing 18th in the boys’ varsity 5-K in 19 minutes, 21 seconds.
“It is great to see Eli run his best race ever,” coach Lyle Silsby said. “We had talked before the race, that with the cool, rainy day we had, it was a perfect day to race, and much better than the 90-100 degree heat we have been running in.”
Competing in the boys’ junior varsity race were Lane Wiens (sixth, 21:09), Ren Dieker (17th, 21:59), Ben Young (32nd, 24:25) and Trey Wedel (37th, 25:20).
Leading the girls’ squad in the junior varsity race was Brittany Dieker, who won in 19:29.
“It was Brittany’s best race yet, and I only see her improving as the season progresses,” Silsby said.
Also running were Jacey Cantrell (17th, 21:59), Katie Diehl (18th, 22:11) and Krystal May (23rd, 24:00).
Goessel—The Bluebirds’ top finisher was Ali Buller, the only runner for the girls’ team. She came in 13th on the 4-K course in 17 minutes, 57 seconds.
Heath Goertzen took top honors for the boys, finishing 13th in 19:01. Also running were Davis Cook (19th, 19:24), Nathan Czarnowsky (35th, 20:26), Grant Flaming (37th, 20:36), Ben Wiens (38th, 20:39) and Dan Smucker (50th, 23:09).
The Goessel boys placed sixth overall with 133 points, beating out Haven and Remington.
Peabody-Burns—Coming in with the best time for the home team was senior Zach Preheim, who placed 31st in the varsity boy’s 5-K race in 20 minutes, 12 seconds.
“By the time he ran the course it was pretty soggy in places and slick coming out of the woods,” said coach Kim Topham. “Considering the temperature and moisture he ran a good race.”
Marcus Sanders ran the two-mile junior varsity race in 15:44, shaving over two minutes off his previous time. Lily Harris finished the girl’s junior varsity 4-K race in 24:36.
“(Harris) is struggling with injuries this year, but is determined to finish each race,” Top ham said.
“Due to injuries and other issues our team was short on runners this past week,” she added. “I hope to have more runners competing this week at Marion.
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to compete Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Southeast of Saline, then will run Saturday at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence, the site of the Class 3A state race later this season.
Marion is scheduled for their home meet Thursday, hosting 17 other varsity teams, including area schools Canton-Galva, Goessel and Peabody-Burns.
Races begin with the high school boys at 4:30 p.m. and the girls following at 5 p.m.