Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:09
Hillsboro runners joined more than 2,000 runners from at least five states Saturday at the Rim Rock Farm Classic near Lawrence.
“It was quite an atmosphere at KU’s course, as many outstanding cross-country runners competed for only 25 medals per race,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “Many of our runners embraced the challenging course and competition, and therefore had good races.”
Competing in the Blue Division for smaller schools, sophomore Emily Sechrist placed fourth among 211 runners with a time of 15 minutes, 36 seconds on the 4-kilometer course. She was about 14 seconds behind the winner and less than a second from third place.
Sechrist was the first Kansas runner to cross the finish line as she returned to the course where she won the Class 3A state title last fall.
“Emily had another outstanding race and was with the lead group much of the race,” Holmes said. “Another positive was the strong finish she had in the last 200 meters.
“Maybe she didn’t win, but to show how well she competed, she improved her time on the course by 27 seconds compared to the end of last season.”
Also running for Hillsboro were Karen Leihy (85th, 17:47), Erin Wiebe (205th, 21:31) and Morganne Hamm (211th, 24:55).
Josh Richert led the Trojan boys by placing 37th among 246 runners in 17:47 over 5 kilometers.
“Josh improved his time from last year on the course by 12 seconds, so his training and racing are also headed in the right direction,” Holmes said.
Also running for the Trojans were Jordan Bezdek (183rd, 20:02), Avery Franz (205th, 20:34) and Daniel Gray (243rd, 23:40).
Southeast of Saline—Hillsboro battled illness, injuries, a challenging course and tough competition at the Southeast of Saline Invitational Sept. 18.
“Some of our team didn’t run at all due to illness, and J.D. (Schmidt) and Mary (Leihy) ended with injuries that slowed them considerably,” coach Stuart Holmes said.
For the first time this season, sophomore Emily Sechrist had to settle for other than gold in the girls’ varsity race. The defending Class 3A champion was runnerup by nine seconds to senior Jenna Farris, the two-time 2A champion from Lincoln, with a time of 15 minutes, 42 seconds over the 4-kilometer course.
The third-place runner finished 24 seconds behind Sechrist.
“It should be noted that the girls’ course at Southeast of Saline was different and more challenging than in previous years,” Holmes said, “so times really can’t be compared to last year as almost everyone was 20 to 30 seconds slower this year.”
The Trojan coach did single out sophomore Karen Leihy, who placed 17th in the field of 57 runners in 17:44.
“Certainly a highlight was Karen’s continued improvement from race to race; this was her strongest meet yet for this year,” Holmes said.
In the boys’ varsity race, Josh Richert placed fifth among 99 runners with a time of 18:28 over the 5-k course. Drew Hageman of Hesston won in 17:47.
Also running for the Trojans were Jordan Bezdek (57th, 20:58), Avery Franz (62nd, 21:08) and Schmidt (92nd, 25:35).
Neither the girls nor boys had enough runners to compete as a team.
Three Trojans ran in the girls’ junior-varsity race. Erin Wiebe placed 21st in 21:00, followed by Mary Leihy (35th, 24:05) and Morganne Hamm (36th, 24:34).
Two middle school runners competed in their respective divisions. Michael Higby won the one-mile race for seventh-grade boys in 6:02 and Jonathan Hinerman placed sixth in the eighth-grade 2-mile race in 12:56.
Coming—Hillsboro will compete again Thursday at the Berean Academy Invitational at Harvey County East Park. High school races begin at 4 p.m.