Trojan cross-county boys qualify for state competition

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro boys’ cross country accomplished its primary objective Saturday by qualifying for state with a second-place finish in regional competition at Ellsworth.

The Trojans, with 53 team points, finished 14 points behind the home team and a comfortable 67 points ahead of the third-place place team from Southeast of Saline.

Aaron Yoder paced the Trojan effort by finishing the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 13 seconds for third place. Daniel Yoder also medaled by finishing seventh in 17:47.

Also scoring points for the team were Kody Borg (13th, 18:44), Sean Leihy (17th, 18:57) and Karl Magnuson (18th, 19:00).

Also competing for HHS were Ric Johnson (26th, 19:31) and Nate Holmes (30th, 19:47)

In addition to qualifying for state, coach Stuart Holmes said his runners had set the goal of running at least 20 seconds faster on the hilly course then they had when they competed there Oct. 7.

Aaron Yoder cut his previous time by 37 seconds, Johnson by 48 seconds and Magnuson by 12 seconds.

“The boys improved by a 12-second average to earn the regional runner-up plaque and a trip to state, while the girls finished the season with a very positive race on the average of 20 seconds faster than the last time on the course,” he said.

Leading the Trojan girls was Mandy Estus, who covered the 2-mile course in 14:48 to finish 30th. Also competing for HHS were Elissa Richert (32nd, 14:56), Jacque Fisher (39th, 16:19), Kim Givens (54th, 17:29) and Melissa Hiebert (46th, 19:51).

As a team, the Trojan girls placed eighth among the eight schools competing as teams and have completed their season.

“The girls have had a tremendous improvement this year and now have a good foundation of running experience from which to build on for the future,” Holmes said. “If they will dedicate themselves to running most of next summer, they can have a competitive impact next year.”

The boys, meanwhile, will focus on the Class 3A state race at Wamego next Saturday.

“Our training has been designed to peak at state, and so we expect to run better next week at Wamego,” Holmes said. “A number of the guys have been getting together for the last month on Saturday mornings to run in preparation for our 9 a.m. race time.”

Holmes said the competition at Wamego will be challenging.

“We’re looking for a great team effort to finish the season among the top teams in the state,” he said.

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