Sub-par Trojans battle for ninth place

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
At last week’s regional race, the Hillsboro High cross country boys ran in terrible weather.

At Saturday’s state meet in Wamego, the team competed in beautiful sunshine, but its top two runners ran under the weather.

Junior Cody McMillen and senior Sean Leihy finished 24th and 49th overall, respectively, but that was well below their own expectations. As a team, the Trojans finished ninth among the 12 schools competing for a team title.

“The guys ran hard again, but unfortunately Cody and Sean were not 100 percent,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “Cody was sick during the week and had been to a doctor.

“Additionally, Sean was coming down with something. When we got back from the meet he said he had the chills-even though he had a coat on and it was warm outside.”

McMillen completed the 5-kilometer course-which was altered slightly this year to enhance the challenge of its hilly terrain-in a time of 18 minutes, 19 seconds. That was 23 seconds slower than his regional time under wet, windy and cold conditions the previous Saturday in Wichita.

Leihy, meanwhile, ran the state course in 18:54-a full 1:07 slower than his regional time.

“It was especially disappointing for Sean, as he had been looking all season like a contender to be in the top 20, which would have earned him a state medal in his senior season,” Holmes said.

“Sometimes athletics gives the opportunity to deal with disappointment with dignity, and the guys were able to do that.”

Also running for Hillsboro were sophomore Nicholas Mueller (63rd, 10:14), junior Johnny Christian (89th, 20:09), sophomore Matthew Klenda (90th, 20:10), freshman Nathan Vogel (96th, 20:38) and sophomore Brandon McMillen (103rd, 21:25).

As a team, the Trojans totaled 220 points, well below the winning score of 43 points by Kansas City Christian.

“The guys went into the meet determined to run well and place among the top five or six teams, which would have been outstanding for such a young team,” Holmes said.

“Once again, they should feel good about their efforts, as they can’t do anything about untimely illness.

“The boys had only one senior in the top 10 (runners on the team), and with a lot of off-season dedication, they could be very competitive next year.”

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