Hillsboro followed with 72 points to outdistance Hesston with 88, Marion 108, Halstead 127, Lyons 155, Hoisington 167, Smoky Valley 204, Wichita Collegiate 235, Ellinwood 248 and Haven 270.
Cody McMillen earned his fourth straight league medal by finishing second. Sterling’s Kaleb Humphreys won the league title by covering the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 32 seconds while McMillen followed in 17:18.
“Cody is competing at a high level at the end of the season and ran a smart race of staying with his competition and then making a move to pull away,” coach Stuart Holmes said.
Nicholas Mueller also earned a medal and all-league honors by placing seventh in 18:33. Nathan Vogel just missed the all-league top 15, placing 18th in 19:12.
“Nicholas is one of our best runners at preparing himself mentally to compete and that makes him a great asset to the team,” Holmes said.
Also competing for HHS were Brandon McMillen (20th, 18:33), Matthew Klenda (25th, 19:16), Johnathan Christian (30th, 19:43) and Cody Blackketter (46th, 20:19).
“The guys’ team was helped by Matthew Klenda finishing in the key fifth spot this week, which allowed the guys to place second as a team,” Holmes said.
In the girls’ division, Smoky Valley won the title with 45 points, followed by Marion with 50, Collegiate 102, Halstead 108, Hillsboro 114 and Hesston 118.
For the Trojans, Heidi Schroeder earned a medal and all-league honors by placing ninth with a time of 18:27 over the 4-k course.
“Heidi should feel good about medaling at league,” Holmes said. “She has battled through a minor back injury from a non-running incident toward the early part of the season. Her training and aggressive running paid off as she ran an excellent race.”
Following Schroeder were Jessica Elliott (20th, 18:56), Abi Humber (25th, 19:28), Clara Enns (29th, 19:51) and Krista Benda (38th, 21:54).
“Both the girls’ and the guys’ teams performed well,” Holmes said. “Many of the kids gave a supreme effort. It was one of the nicest days we’ve had to run this year, as it was cooler with less wind that it has been.
“Unfortunately, the course may have been around 100 to 150 meters long, as almost all the times of even the most consistent runners were slow by the amount of time it takes to cover that distance.”
Despite the extended distance, senior Alex Jost closed his career by beating his personal-best time by 17 seconds, finishing fifth in the junior-varsity race in 20:33. David Ratzloff led HHS by finishing second in 20:00 and Jonathan King was fourth in 20:33.
Also running for HHS were Nick Carlson (13th, 21:45), Tyrel Blecha (17th, 21:54), Michael Christian (21st, 22:15) and Lance Kliewer (41st, 24:55).
Coming—Hillsboro will travel to El Dorado State Park on Saturday for regional competition and a chance to qualify for state.
The girls will run at 10:30 a.m. at Bluestem Point while the boys, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, will run at 11 a.m.
“The guys have a chance of qualifying (for state), but have drawn a very competitive regional, Holmes said. “Competing will be three of the top four ranked teams in 3A.”
Wichita Independent is ranked No. 1 and Southeast of Saline No. 3. In two head-to-head meetings between SES and Hillsboro this season, both teams can claim a victory.
The top four teams at regionals will qualify as a unit for state, which will be Saturday, Oct. 27, in Wamego.
“I expect our guys will show up ready to compete and should run especially well,” Holmes said.
Also in the regional field this Saturday are Chaparral, Belle Plaine, Garden Plain, Halstead, Hutchinson Trinity, Bluestem, Marion, Medicine Lodge, Sedgwick, Remington, Wichita Collegiate and Wichita Trinity.