The Hillsboro cross-country team competed mostly in junior-varsity races, but accomplished some varsity-quality success as it opened the season Saturday at the J.T. Gold Classic near Augusta.
In a unique event that offers both college and high school races, Hillsboro coach Stuart Holmes opted to enter all of his runners except senior Bret Mueller in junior-varsity races. The high school field draws mostly Class 5A and 6A schools.
Mueller finished 23rd in a field of 52 runners with a time of 19 minutes, 6 seconds. Bryant Keirns of Campus won the race in 16:28.
?Bret?s race was after 11 a.m., so his time shouldn?t be compared to last year?s when he ran in the cool, calm of the early morning in the JV race,? Holmes said. ?He ran well today in these conditions.?
It was during the earlier JV races that the Trojans made their biggest impact, with individual wins in both the boys? and girls? races.
Pacing the boys was junior Josh Richert, who crossed the finish line of the 5-kilometer race in 18:45, more than 20 seconds faster than the runner-up from Kapaun Mount Carmel.
?I hope it will be a breakthrough race for him,? Holmes said.
Meanwhile, freshman Karyn Leihy not only won her first cross-country race, but also set a new school record for girls. Leihy crossed the finish line of the 4-k race in 17:25, breaking the HHS?record of 18:03 set in 2008 by Heidi Schroeder.
?Josh and Karyn, like almost all of our cross-country team members, had a good summer of training and have prepared themselves to have a successful season,? Holmes said. ?I was proud of and happy for both of them.?
Also competing in the boys? race for Hillsboro in the field of 76 runners were Avery Franz (sixth, 19:42), Dylan Hill (16th, 20:31), Daniel Gray (17th, 20:35), J.D. Schmidt (18th, 20:45), Tyler Funk (34th, 22;10) and Jordan Bezdek (35th, 22:11).
Holmes highlighted the performances of Franz and Schmidt in particular.
?(Franz) did a great job in the last 600 meters of the race, moving from 12th to earn the sixth-place medal,? he said. ?Also running a gutsy race was J.D. Schmidt, who continued running and finished with a personal record of about a minute despite having a bloody nose during the race.?
As a team, the Trojan boys totaled 58 points, second only to 47 by Blue Valley West in the six-team field.
Joining Leihy in the girls? race were Samantha Ens (24th, 20:10), Amy Bartel (35th, 21:41) and Erin Wiebe (43rd, 22;25).
?Our returning runners all ran well, but the conditions were much warmer with a lot more wind this year,? Holmes said.
Injuries kept sophomore Clay Etheridge and freshman Emily Sechrist from competing.
Coming?The Trojans will compete Saturday at Wamego. Races begin at 10 a.m.