Four seniors return to set the pace for the HHS cross-country team this fall: (from left) Dimitri McClelland, Jonathan King, Michael Christian and Nathan Vogel.
With graduation claiming five of the top seven runners from his league championship team in 2008, Hillsboro High School cross-country coach Stuart Holmes will be looking for younger and less-experience runners to pick up the pace for this year?s squad.
?The guys will be working hard as a team to once again be one of the top teams in the league,? Holmes said. ?Who knows how much our new runners will improve and what kind of team we will be two months from now.
?As long as people work hard and support their teammates, I?ll be satisfied with the results.?
Though he lost most of last year?s varsity team, including the Trojans? only state qualifier, Nicholas Mueller, Holmes does return his No. 2 runner in Nathan Vogel, a senior who was an all-league performer in 2008 by claiming 10th place in the league race.
Classmate Jonathan King, the the other returning varsity runner, finished 19th at league.
Holmes will be looking to fill the vacancies in his lineup with runners from last season?s junior varsity squad. Heading that list is sophomore Brett Mueller, who won the JV race at league.
Also in the mix are seniors Michael Christian, who finished 12th in the league JV race and Dimitri McClelland.
Holmes has nine runners on the boys? roster, down from 13 a year ago due in large part to the loss of six seniors in all.
Justin King is new to the team this year as a junior, while Nick Ediger returns as a sophomore. Freshmen Daniel Gray and Josh Richert round out the roster.
Sophomore Samantha Ens is the sole member of the girls? team this year. She placed 40th among 50 runners in last season?s varsity league race.
?The season is off to a great start in practice,? Holmes said. ?Everyone has a great attitude and the training is going well.
?Some of the returning runners showed a lot of maturity and self-discipline by running consistently this summer, and consequently have a good base to start with and should be ready to run even faster than they have in the past.
?If everyone keeps working hard and keeps a good attitude, we will see the kind of improvement that makes for a successful season.?
The Trojans will begin their season with back-to-back Saturday morning races. The opener is this Saturday at the J.K. Gold Classic near Augusta. Races begin at 8 a.m.
The next week, Hillsboro travels to Wamego for a 10 a.m. race on the same course that plays host for the state event Oct. 31.
New to the schedule in 2009 is the Peabody Invitational, which will be the team?s third race of the season. It begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.
The league race this season will be Oct. 15 at Hesston.