More runners on board at HHS

Coach Robert Haude welcomed four returning letter-winners to his team this fall: (from left) Orin Blecha, Tucker Moss, Caleb Rempel and Abby Driggers.
Coach Robert Haude welcomed four returning letter-winners to his team this fall: (from left) Orin Blecha, Tucker Moss, Caleb Rempel and Abby Driggers.
Robert Haude welcomes four returning letter-winners and an expanded roster of athletes as he enters his second season as Hillsboro’s cross-country coach.

Haude has no returning seniors this fall, but he is anticipating good things from his four varsity veterans: Caleb Rempel, Tucker Moss, Orin Blecha and Abby Driggers, all juniors.

“With the experience they had last year, and the success they had, I think it’s going to propel them to a successful season this year,” Haude said.

“I really look for them to be good leaders on our team and get the younger group prepared for a new day, and encourage them at this time of the year,” he said. “The beginning of the season is a difficult time, day in and day out, to stay motivated.”

Though not a letter-winner in 2016, Haude sees sophomore Millie Sechrist as another ambassador of encouragement for team newcomers and joins the four letter-winners as team captains.

Success as persons

Like all coaches, Haude is working toward a successful season, but success for him isn’t necessarily measured by gold medals and team plaques.

“We talk about competing every day, competing with yourself,” he said. “Running is very much individualized, but at the same time I think for our team to be as successful as it can be will mean encouraging each other and sharing goals.

“They all established a goal, and shared that goal with other teammates,” he added. “I encouraged them to keep each other accountable in that and just compete every day to be better than they were yesterday.”

Another goal Haude has set for his runners is to be good representatives of their school while they compete.

“When we’re at a meet, I hope people will say, wow, they really competed to the best of their abilities,” he said. “That might not mean we won first place, but we’re doing the best we can on that given day.

“Also, I hope people see that we can compete with toughness, but we can also be kind at the same time and encourage runners from other schools that we’re competing against.”

Success on the course

In the more traditional sense of success, Haude said the team hopes to qualify for state.

Driggers qualified for the state race as a freshman in 2015, but took last year off.

“I’m excited for her opportunity this year to return to state,” Haude said.

Haude believes Rempel could be a state qualifier this season.

“I really look forward to seeing Caleb Rempel,” Haude said. “At the end of last season he really came on. He understood himself and what it took to run a race at the level it takes to be highly successful in terms of placing and even potentially going to state.

“At the regional meet last year, he ran great. He didn’t make it to state, but he competed and he was close.”

Newcomers

Haude’s high school roster includes seven boys and five girls. Caleb Diener, a freshman, could make an impact in his first season, according to Haude.

“Caleb Diener was very successful in middle school,” Haude said. “We have high hopes that he’ll continue the success he had as a middle schooler.”

Haude said he learned things during his first season that could help the team develop this fall.

“For me, the good thing is understanding how the season progresses, and understanding how to prepare the athletes through­­out the season,” he said.

The Trojans will open their competitive season Thursday at Lindsborg.