ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro cross country boys’ team served notice that it will be a leading contender in Class 3A by winning the small-school division at the huge Hesston “Swather Special” Meet Thursday afternoon.
The Trojans placed first among the 32 teams competing in the Class 3-2-1A division with 21 points. Ellsworth finished second with 39 points and Marion tied for third with Hutchinson Trinity at 49.
Goessel placed 12th with 96 points. Runners from Centre and Peabody-Burns also competed but did not have the minimum of five needed enough to compete as a team.
Bishop Carroll won the Class 4-5-6A boys’ division with 28 points.
In the girls’ division, Marion, Goessel and Peabody-Burns placed 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, in Class 1-2-3A with 82, 84 and 85 points. Centre placed 20th with 122 points. Hutch Trinity won that division with 8 points.
The format of the Hesston meet, which involved 42 schools in all, has separate races for boys and girls, but all schools, regardless of size, run in the same race. As runners near the finish line, they enter one of two chutes, according to school size. Results are then figured for each age-class, freshman through senior.
For team scoring, the five runners with the highest finishes, regardless of age, are tallied for each school.
Accounting for Hillsboro’s 21 points were Aaron Yoder and Daniel Yoder, who placed first and fourth, respectively, among sophomores, Pete Richert, who finished third among seniors, and Sammy Espada and Kody Borg, who placed sixth and seventh, respectively, among freshmen.
Aaron Yoder ran the third-fastest time overall, finishing the 5-kilometer course in 17.04. Only Cory Enterkin of Sedgwick (16:12) and Heath Larson of Smoky Valley (17:01), both seniors, ran faster.
The Marion boys’ scoring included Brian Bina and Zac Ewert, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the junior race, Keith Dudley, who placed seventh in the senior race, Nick Carlson, who placed 15th in the freshman race, Jared Hett, who placed 20th in the sophomore race.
All 12 Hillsboro runners posted faster times than they did the previous week’s season opener at Lindsborg. Coach Brian Kennell said the course was a key difference.
“The Hesston golf course makes for a pretty flat course,” he said. “That had a lot to do with it, but also a cooler day, another week of training and another week of racing experience helped, too.
“Times are always a lot quicker at Hesston. Later courses will have slower times than this course did.”
The most improved for Hillsboro was freshman Sammy Espada, who shaved almost five minutes off his time at Lindsborg to place among the leaders in the freshman race.
“He cramped up last week and didn’t this week.,” Kennell said. “Part of that may be due to experience, too, having run that distance a second time and getting more used to it.”
Coming-The Trojans are entering a busy stretch in their schedule. Thursday they travel to Leon to run at the Bluestem Invitational. Races begin at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 15, Hillsboro will compete in a non-scheduled event in Lawrence called the 2001 Rim Rock Farm High School Cross Country Classic. In 2000, this premier meet featured an estimated 150 boys’ and girls’ teams-numbering around 2,200 athletes-from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas.
Hillsboro, having less than 800 students, will compete in the small-school division. Their race is scheduled for 11:50 a.m.
“This will be our first year at Lawrence,” Kennell said. “From talking to people who have been there, it sounds like it will be a really neat experience and great competition.”
The Trojans will run again next Tuesday at the Southeast of Saline Invitational near Gypsum. Those races will begin at 4:30 p.m.
The Marion cross country teams, meanwhile, also will compete at the Bluestem Invitational on Thursday. The Warriors will run next Tuesday at the Douglass Invitational, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Runners from Centre, Goessel and Peabody-Burns will also compete at the Bluestem meet. Centre and Goessel will also run at the Southeast of Saline meet.