Competition stiff at large Hesston cross country meet

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
When you compete in a cross country meet that attracts nearly 700 runners from 49 schools-from all six classes-it’s easy to lose perspective on performance.

But one measuring tool remains constant: the stopwatch.

By that standard, Hillsboro coach Stuart Holmes deemed Thursday’s Hesston Swather Special a solid success. All but one of his 21 competitors improved on their respective times from last week’s opener at Lindsborg.

“Almost everyone improved their time substantially, so it was a good meet,” Holmes said.

Conditions at Hesston helped-cooler temperatures and a flatter course. So did another week of training.

“The athletes should feel good about the hard work that they’ve put into improving-the training is paying off,” Holmes said.

For the boys, it paid off with a third-place team finish in the 21-team Class 3-2-1A division.

The Trojans’ combined score of 36 points was second only to 14 for Ellsworth and 37 for Hesston. The Swathers gained a measure of revenge on their home course following their 4-point loss to Hillsboro at last week’s Lindsborg meet.

Points in the boys’ division were awarded according a team’s top finishers in four races, one for each academic class.

Earning medals by finishing among the top 20 runners in their respective races were: Sean Leihy, fifth in the sophomore race in 17 minutes, 53 seconds; Kody Borg, sixth in the senior race in 18:05, Cody McMillen, sixth in the freshman race in 18:54; Karl Magnuson, ninth in the senior race in 18:10; Daniel Bookless, 13th in the junior race in 18:55; Nate Holmes, 16th in the sophomore race in 19:11; and Robert Jost, 18th in the junior race in 19:17.

Leihy, Bookless and Magnuson cut more than a minute off their time at Lindsborg, while Borg and Jost improved by more than a half-minute.

The Trojan girls, meanwhile, placed 19th among 23 teams. Hillsboro’s highest finisher was Hannah Marsh, who was 46th in the freshman-sophomore combined race in 15:01, which was 23 seconds faster than last week’s time.

Elissa Richert finished two places behind Marsh in 15:11, an improvement of 55 seconds.

Greta Kliewer, who placed 46th in the junior-senior race in 15:50, improved her time by 2:09.

Area teams

The Swather Special attracted all six schools in the Free Press distribution area. The top finisher overall was Justin Garrard, Centre’s only entrant in the boys’ division, who won the senior race in 16:35, the fastest time of any runner in the 3-2-1A division.

Also winning medals were: Andrew Topham, Peabody-Burns, third in the sophomore race in 17:14; Luke Bowers, Marion, 10th in the sophomore race in 18:39; Evan Fast, Goessel, 11th in the junior race in 18:45; Brandon Shannon, Canton-Galva, 13th in the sophomore race in 18:51; Duane Unruh, Peabody-Burns, 14th in the freshman race at 19:50; Zach Plenert, Goessel, 15th in the senior race in 18:57; Daniel Goertzen, 18th in the sophomore race in 19:20; and Derek Benson, Peabody-Burns, 20th in the junior race in 19:24.

In team competition, Peabody-Burns finished 11th with 82 points, Goessel 12th with 106, Marion 14th with 130, and Canton-Galva 17th with 161.

For the girls, Peabody-Burns placed fifth among 23 teams with 40 points. Marion was 13th with 78, Canton-Galva 18th with 113, and Centre 20th with 123.

The highest-placing medalist among the girls was Tiana McGee of Peabody-Burns, who placed third in the junior-senior race at 13:13.

Also winning medals were: Ashley Elliott, Peabody-Burns, 16th in the junior-senior race at 13:45; Danielle Cope, Marion, 17th in the freshman-sophomore race at 14:04; and Caitlen Nelson, Canton-Galva, 20th in the freshman-sophomore race in 14:11.

Results for all area teams are listed in Scorecard, Page 21.

Coming-Each of the six area teams will run at Leon on Thursday with races starting at 3:30 p.m.

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