Kicking into gear/ HHS wins MCAA title

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Placing all seven of its varsity boys among the top 22 finishers overall?and its five scorers among the top 16?the Hillsboro boys ran comfortably to the Mid-Central Activities Association league meet title Thursday at Wichita.

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ABOVE: Marion?s Ryan Jones, Louis Holt and Andy Shipman start off strong at Thursday?s MCAA league meet. BELOW: Hillsboro?s Nicholas Mueller bears down on a curve. Mueller placed third overall, and paced the Trojans to the league title.

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The Trojans, ranked No. 4 in the latest coaches poll for Class 3A, finished with 58 team points to outpace Sterling by 15 points. The Black Bears are ranked No. 7 in Class 3A.

Following the top two teams were Smoky Valley (107), Lyons (115), Hesston (119), Marion (124), Halstead (158), Haven (182) and the host school, Collegiate (222).

Leading the way for HHS was Nicholas Mueller, who finished the 5-kilometer course at the Cessna Activity Center in third place with a time of 17 minutes, 47 seconds.

Sterling?s Sam Leake (17:15) and Devin Roberts (17:42) claimed the top two spots in the field of 67 finishers.

Crossing next for Hillsboro were Nathan Vogel (10th, 18:33), Brandon McMillen (14th, 18:45), Robbie McClelland (15th, 18:50) and David Ratzloff (16th, 18:53). They were followed by Jonathan King (19th, 19:04) and Matthew Klenda (22nd, 19:18).

?The guys ran a very determined race today,? coach Stuart Holmes said. ?It was great to see their dedication pay off with a league championship.?

Holmes said the pivotal factor for Hillsboro was Ratzloff finishing so close to McMillen and McClelland in 16th place while Sterling?s No. 5 runner finished 41st?a difference of 25 points.

?David has really improved over the years,? Holmes said. ?His freshman personal record was 22:26 and now as a senior it is 18:14.?

Meanwhile, the Trojan girls placed sixth among seven teams, combining for 120 points. Smoky Valley won the title with 62.

Rounding out the field were Hesston (71), Haven (83), Ellin?wood (92), Marion (98) and Halstead (149).

Freshman Brenna Black?ketter led Hillsboro with a ninth-place finish in the 4-kilometer race in 18:05, a personal record and only two seconds off the school record.

The winning time in the field of 50 runners was 16:44 by Megan Duggins of Collegiate.

?Brenna continued an excellent freshman season,? Holmes said. ?Unfortunately, some of the other girls had off days and we didn?t place in the top three like we were hoping for. All the girls ran hard and gave a great effort, so I was proud of them also.?

Trailing Blackketter for HHS were Heidi Schroeder (27th, 19:20), Taylor Nikkel (32nd, 19:40), Jessica Elliott (34th, 19:42), Clara Ens (37th, 19:54), and Samantha Ens (40th, 20:01).

Marion results

Ryan Jones led the way for the Marion boys, placing sixth in 18:11. He was followed by Louis Holt (11th, 18:33), Michael Kirkpatrick (25th, 19:22), Andy Shipman (38th, 20:12), Brandon Meierhoff (48th, 20:52), Philip Gu (58th, 21:38) and Max Wagner (63rd, 22:12).

For the Warrior girls, Jaclyn DeForest and Camille Christen?sen placed third and fourth in 17:47 and 17:48, respectively.

They were followed by Amanda Richmond (28th, 19:25), Danae Edwards (38th, 19:58), Taylor Harms (39th, 19:59) and Bridgett Lundy (42nd, 20:33).

JV race?In the junior-varsity boys? race, Bret Mueller claimed the title in 19:24. He was followed by teammates Cody Blackketter (third, 19:54), Max Heddin (seventh, 20:37) and Michael Chris?tian (12th, 21:00).

Marion?s Jessie Taylor finished third (20:00), Derek Stuchlik 20th (22:22), Galen Funk 31st (24:40) and Adam Molleker 33rd (24:58) in the field of 44.

Coming?Hillsboro and Marion will battle for berths in the state meet when they travel to Southeast of Saline for the regional race on Saturday.

In a tough field of 15 schools, the host school is ranked No. 1 among Class 3A boys, Hutchin?son Trinity No. 3, Hillsboro No. 4 and Ellsworth No. 6. The top three teams will qualify for state as a team, as well the top 10 finishers who are not members of the top three teams.

?Our boys will be focused and are looking forward to running well,? Holmes said.

In the girls? field, SES is No. 2 in Class 3A, Belle Plaine No. 3, Remington No. 4 and Collegiate No. 8. The girls will race at 2:30 p.m. and the boys start at 3 p.m.

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