Sterling breaks Trojans’ five-year reign as MCAA champs

The Hillsboro boys’ five-year league championship streak came to an end Thursday as Sterling prevailed by 15 points at the Mid-Central Activities Association meet at Marion County Lake.

Led by a first-place performance by Kaleb Humphreys, and with three runners among the top five finishers, Sterling tallied only 42 points to Hillsboro’s 57.

Following the Trojans were Wichita Collegiate with 88, Hesston 119, Marion 137, Smoky Valley 148, Hoisington 149, Halstead 182, Lyons 210 and Ellinwood 237.

“We may have fallen short of our goals, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort,” coach Stuart Holmes said.

“The story in the boys’ race is simple: Sterling also has an outstanding team and ran very well,” he added. “They deserve to be league champions.”

Daniel Bookless again led the Trojan cause by covering the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 8 seconds, good for fourth place among 66 runners.

He was followed by Sean Leihy (seventh, 17:37), Cody McMillen (15th, 18:18), Nate Holmes (20th, 18:31), Isaac Leihy (21st, 18:39), Thad Holmes (41st, 19:33) and Brandon McMillen (46th, 20:04).

“Our guys bounced back nicely from a tough couple of weeks without Cody,” Holmes said. “Certainly one of the positives for the boys’ team was getting Cody back and having him run a good race.”

The Trojan sophomore was out because of a health issue.

“Every season is going to have its challenges, and how you respond to those as a team is important. Today was a positive step overall in getting prepared for the regional championship next week.

The Marion boys, meanwhile, were led by Gavin Moore, who placed 11th in 17:58. He was followed by Daniel Goentzel (18th, 18:24), Luke Bowers (26th, 18:48), Justin Heidebrecht (27th, 18:56), Matt Kirkpatrick (57th, 21:00) and Ben Leppke (65th, 22:48).

“Gavin Moore really stepped it up in the boys’ race,” said coach Rex Ostmeyer. “In his second meet ever, he runs a 17:59 and finishes 11th. Gavin is just very motivated to do well and competes very hard.

“I think Daniel and Luke were a little disappointed with their races today. They both are capable of better and I hope to see that at regionals.”

In the girls’ race, Marion placed seventh and Hillsboro eighth.

For the Warriors, Danielle Cope finished fourth among 56 runners, covering the 2-mile course in 12:20, one of the top times in MHS history, Ostmeyer said.

“Danielle had a great race plan and ran incredibly well,” he said. “I have said all along she is one of the best runners in the state.”

Cope was followed by Tacy Taylor (22nd, 13:33), Katie Hett (31st, 13:53), Emily Svoboda (49th, 15:53) and Elisa Gayle (52nd, 16:41).

For the Trojans, Jacque Fisher and Carrie Schroeder placed 12th and 13th place with times of 13:12 and 13:13, respectively. They were followed by Elissa Richert (29th, 13:44), Courtney Fast (43rd, 15:08) and Megan McCarty (55th, 17:22).

“The girls have done a nice job of persevering through some adversity and giving a good effort,” Holmes said.

“Greta (Kliewer) was out this meet with a calf-muscle strain, which was so unfortunate. With her running within 10 seconds of Jacque, like she did the race before, our team score would have been around 35 points lower, which would have put our girls in third.”

JV boys-The Trojans and Warriors had runners competing in the boys’ junior varsity race.

Running for Hillsboro were Ric Johnson (second, 19:40), Johnny Christian (third, 19:42), Robert Jost (fourth, 20:02), Zach Magnuson (13th, 20:45), Matthew Klenda (14th, 20:50), Jon Janzen (18th, 21:07), J. Michael Hiebert (21st, 21:21), Alex Jost (29th, 22:19), Lance Kliewer (33rd, 22:34), Clint Schneider (35th, 22:59), Tyrel Blecha (37th, 23:18) and Victor Rogers (38th, 23:19).

Running for Marion were Kerim Geldimurador (34th, 22:50) and Bryce Nelson (39th, 23:26).

Coming-Hillsboro and Marion will compete Saturday at the regional meet at the Cessna Activity Center in Wichita. The girls will run at 3 p.m. and the boys at 3:30 p.m.

Joining the Trojans and Warriors will be Chaparral, Cheney, Eureka, Fredonia, Halstead, Hesston, Bluestem, Medicine Lodge, Remington, Wichita Collegiate, Wichita Independent and Wichita Trinity.

The three teams and top 10 runners are assured of a berth at the state meet in Wamego the following Saturday.

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