ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Though relatively young and inexperienced, the Hillsboro cross-country boys continued the Trojan tradition of being one of the best teams in the Mid-Central Activities Association by placing second Thursday in Ellinwood.
Hillsboro finished with 79 points to trail Sterling, the defending Class 2A state champions, by 24 points. Halstead was third at 108 with Hesston fourth at 110 and Marion fifth at 111.
“Sterling has an outstanding team and is expected to repeat as Class 2A team champs, so placing second to them is nothing to be disappointed in,” coach Stuart Holmes said.
As he has all season, junior Cody McMillen led the Trojan charge. He placed fourth in a time of 17 minutes, 26 seconds over five kilometers.
Hillsboro senior Sean Leihy placed eighth in 17:56. He was followed by Nicholas Mueller (14th, 18:14), Johnathan Christian (25th, 18:59), Matthew Klenda (28th, 19:00), Nathan Vogel (38th, 19:28) and Brandon McMillen (44th, 19:46).
“We only beat Hesston by seven points at Ellsworth the week before and today’s margin was 31, which is mainly due to the excellent races that Johnny and Matthew ran,” Holmes said. “They were both within a minute and a half behind of Cody instead of the 21⁄2 minutes like it was the week before. I knew our top three would run well, so having our fourth and fifth guys closer was huge.”
The Hillsboro girls, meanwhile, didn’t have enough runners healthy to compete as a team. Heidi Schroeder was the first Trojan to complete the 4-kilometer course, crossing the finish line in 18:58 for 26th place.
Right on her heels was Jessica Elliot, who placed 27th in 19:02.
Also competing for HHS were Elissa Richert (34th, 19:44) and Brittany McInnis (39th, 20:13.)
Marion results-Danielle Cope was the runner-up in the girls’ race to lead Marion to a third-place team finish. She covered the course in 16:56, only 24 seconds behind winner Emma Hawkins of Halstead.
Camille Christensen was close behind, placing fourth in 17:21.
Also competing for Marion were Tracy Taylor (13th, 17:54), Jaclyn DeForest (17th, 18:03), Brooke Johnson (29th, 19:10) and Katie Hett (35th, 19:45).
For the boys, a fifth-place performance by Daniel Goentzel led the Warriors to their fifth-place finish. Goentzel covered the course in 17:37.
He was followed by Louis Holt (17th, 18:27), Ryan Jones (19th, 18:44), Luke Bowers (24th, 18:58), Matt Kirkpatrick (46th, 19:47) and Ben Leppke (60th, 21:35).
Coming-The Trojans and Warriors will travel to Wichita on Saturday for their regional race and a chance to qualify for state. Girls will race at noon and the boys at 12:30 p.m. at the Cessna Activity Center.