Sechrist to run for third state gold

This Hillsboro High School cross-country team returns four letter-winners from last year?s squad. They are (from left) Karyn Leihy, Emily Sechrist, Jonathan Hiner?man, Lydia Kliewer. The three girls are seniors, Hiner?man is a sophomore.Hillsboro cross-country coach Stuart Holmes enters his 12th year at the helm in the good news, bad news position of watching the program?s most successful runner complete her high school career.

Senior Emily Sechrist burst on the scene as a freshman, breaking the school record time for girls in her first race and winning the Class 3A title at the end of the season. She finished second in 3A her sophomore year when the winning runner dropped from 4A into 3A.

Last fall, Sechrist found herself on the other end of that dynamic when she won the Class 2A title after Hills?boro dropped a classification.

Hillsboro?s classification this year is still unknown, but it is highly likely that a healthy Sechrist will be in the mix for a third state title.

?Emily enters her senior season with the same discipline, determination and talent that have made her one of the top runners in the state,? Holmes said.

?She has prepared well and has the opportunity to be one of the top runners again at the state level?regardless of whether we end up being a 3A or a 2A school this year.?

Also returning as a state qualifier from a year ago is senior Karyn Leihy, who placed ninth at regionals and 48th at state.

?Hopefully, with her added experience and determination to be even more competitive as a senior, she will have a successful season,? Holmes said.

Junior Lydia Kliewer returns as a letter-winner to round out the Trojan roster for girls.

?Lydia is in her second year of running cross country and looks to build on the good start she had last season,? Holmes said.

With only three girls out, the Trojans won?t have enough runners to qualify for team honors. The story is the same for the boys, who also will compete with three runners.

Leading the way is sophomore Jonathan Hinerman, who placed 16th at regionals as a freshman.

?Jonathan?s competitive races last year as a freshman showed promise and I know he will be working to continue to improve his times this year.?

The remaining two Trojan boys have some competitive experience but were largely absent a year ago.

Senior Jon Carey competed as a sophomore but sat out in 2013. Sophomore Tristan Donaldson competed only in the final two regular-season races and at regionals.

?It is good to have them both back running again,? Holmes said.

The Trojan coach would like to have more runners out, but he said he?s looking forward to a successful season this fall.

?The runners seem to have a very positive attitude, which goes a long way toward making it another rewarding season.

?My goal each year is that each runner would improve as a runner, student and person due to their participation in cross country.?

Hillsboro will open its competitive season this Saturday at the always competitive J.K. Gold Classic hosted by Wichita State University at the Raft Golf Course near Augusta. Races start at 8 a.m.

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