McMillen covered the 5-kilometer route over the Raft Golf Course in 16 minutes, 46 seconds, which placed him fourth in a highly competitive field that included mostly Class 5A and 6A schools.
The Trojan boys placed seventh in the 10-team field, accumulating 180 points. Blue Valley West won the meet with 70 points.
“We knew the competition would be excellent, and it was,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “For example, in the boys’ race El Dorado won the 4A state championship last year and is rated first in the preseason poll, but they only placed third today.”
Also competing for Hillsboro were Nicholas Mueller (26th, 18:09), Nathan Vogel (44th, 18:47), Matthew Klenda (52nd, 19:28), Brandon McMillen (54th, 19:50), David Ratzloff (55th, 20:12) and Cody Blackketter (56th, 20:13).
Sixty-six runners finished the race.
“It was a good start,” Holmes said. “A number of the runners had faster times than they did last year, which is a result of their good training this summer.”
The Hillsboro girls, meanwhile, fielding the minimum number of runners to compete for a team score, placed 10th in the 10-team field with 242 points.
Blue Valley West won this division as well with 62 points.
Leading the way for the Trojans was Heidi Schroeder, who covered the 4-kilometer course in 18:07. Following her were Abi Humber (47th, 19:02), Jessica Elliott (51st, 19:52), Krista Benda (54th, 20:16) and Clara Ens (55th, 20:17).
The girls’ field included 58 runners.
“I was especially pleased with how our new runners competed,” Holmes said. “The first race is tough mentally as well as physically as you get used to a distance that is very challenging.”
Three of the five Trojan girls—Humber, Benda and Ens—were competing in a cross-country race for the first time.
In the boys’ junior varsity race, Alex Jost led Trojan runners with a 53rd-place finish in 21:45. Also competing for HHS were Jonathan King (56th, 22:04), Tyler Blecha (63rd, 22:29), Michael Christian (68th, 22:57), Lance Kliewer (72nd, 23:31) and Nick Carlson (76th, 23:55).
Coming—The Trojans will compete in the second of three consecutive Saturday-morning races when they travel to Wamego, which will be the site of the state race at the end of the season.
“We look forward to running on the state course this next meet,” Holmes said. “With one meet under our belt, hopefully the kids will run even more aggressively and compete more intensely.”