Seven of Hillsboro’s 12 cross-country runners, including both middle-school participants, set personal records Thursday at the Sterling Invitational.
“Overall, it was an outstanding effort,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “To run your fastest time ever takes a lot of determination to push through the discomfort and continue to press the pace a little faster than your norm.”
Emily Sechrist’s personal best time also meant a new school record. The sophomore placed second in the girls’ 4-kilometer race with a time of 15 minutes, 16 seconds. Her previous record was 15:23. Even with the record, Sechrist placed second to her long-distance rival, Heather Ruder of Thomas More Prep, who won the race by five seconds.
“Emily ran another outstanding race and didn’t make any strategic errors, but just lost to another outstanding runner who had a great meet,” Holmes said. “TMP is not in our league or regional, so we’ll see what happens at state on Rim Rock’s challenging course where Emily has done very well.”
Karyn Leihy medaled with a 15th-place finish in 17:06. In the junior varsity race, Erin Wiebe and Morganne Hamm set PRs with Wiebe placing second (19:34) and Hamm seventh (22:26) in a field of eight runners.
Mary Leihy ran a PR in the freshman race, finishing seventh in 21:09 in a field of 11 runners.
For the boys, Josh Richert set the pace for Hillsboro once again, medaling at sixth place in 17:36 over the 5-K course. He was followed by Avery Franz, who won his first varsity medal by placing 22nd in 18:56, Jordan Bezdek (32nd, 19:27) and Daniel Gray (60th, 21:53) in a field of 67 runners.
In the middle-school races, Jonathan Hinerman placed second among 15 eighth-grade 3,200-meter runners in 12:21, and Michael Higby placed third among 15 seventh-grade 1,600-meter runners in 5:58. Both times were personal records.
“Overall, our runners are improving their mental toughness as well as their physical training, so we’ll look forward to the opportunities as we enter the championship phase of the season beginning with the league meet this next week.”
The Central Kansas League meet will be Thursday at the Lindsborg golf course with a starting time of 4 p.m.