Hillsboro harriers take 2nd at SE of Saline Invitational

After facing a lot of big-school competition in the early weeks of the season, Hillsboro boys excelled among their peers last Tuesday, finishing second among 18 schools at the South?east of Saline Invitational.

The Trojans, ranked seventh in Class 3A, accumulated 96 points to finish behind Sterling, the defending Class 2A state champions, with 60.

Following those two were Berean Academy (100), South?east of Saline (107), Ellsworth (137), Hesston (140), Abilene (163), Halstead (193), Smoky Valley (217), Belle Plaine (250), Chap?man (286), Sacred Heart (289) and Goessel (299).

Cody McMillen again led his team, placing sixth in 18 minutes, 5 seconds.

Nicholas Mueller was the next Trojan to cross the line, finishing 11th in 18:47.

Also competing were Nathan Vogel (21st, 19:22), Brandon McMillen (28th, 19:57), Johna?than Christian (33rd, 20:06) and Matthew Klenda (71st, 22:05).

?Having Cody, Nicholas and Nathan all medal really set us up to have a lower team score,? coach Stuart Holmes said. ?Another key for the team today was the improvement in our fourth and fifth places, who also count toward the team score.

?Over the last couple of weeks, Brandon McMillen and Johnny Christian have been working at consistently pushing the pace and really came through for the team today.?

The Hillsboro girls, meanwhile, finished 11th among 11 schools that fielded teams.

Abi Humber led the way, finishing the 4-kilometer course in 19:15 for 41st. Close behind her was Heidi Schroeder (45th, 19:23). Also running for HHS were Krista Benda (64th, 20:24), Jessica Elliott (65th, 20:41) and Clara Enns (66th, 20:44).

?Abi Humber ran especially well this week,? Holmes said. ?In only her first year out for cross country, she is having a good season. She prepared last summer, has worked hard in practice and is continuing to improve.?

Holmes said over the past couple of weeks he has been encouraging his runners to push their normal pace.

?It was great to see so many of the girls and guys take the risk to go out a little faster at the start and find out if they can still finish strong,? he said. ?Many are finding that they can go a little faster than they thought they could, and are seeing improvement as a result.?

Despite the effort, Holmes said times were slowed by a strong wind and muddy course.

Hillsboro won the junior varsity boys? race, scoring only 27 points in a seven-school field. Hesston was second with 54.

Cody Blackketter (21:07) and David Ratzloff (21:11) led the race from start to finish. They were followed by Jonathan King (3rd, 21:17), Alex Jost (5th, 21:20), Nick Carlson (17th, 22:48) and Michael Christian (29th, 24:00).

Coming?Hillsboro will compete at the Berean Invitational on Thursday. Races at Harvey County East Park are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

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