Strong cross county team in Hillsboro this fall

A large incoming freshman class will provide enough cross-country runners for Hillsboro to field both girls’ and boys’ teams this season for second-year coach Kodi Panzer.

Returning state-qualifier Caleb Diener, a junior, will anchor the boys’ team this season. At the Class 2A state meet a year ago, Diener covered the 5-k course in 18 minutes, 57.7 seconds, good for 50th place overall.

Joining Diener as returning letter-winners are senior Jason Latham and sophomore Nathan Lopez.

Junior Tristan Reed also returns, having qualified for state as a freshman, then battling injury a year ago.

“(Tristan) should come back strong this year after going to state his freshman year,” Panzer said.

Freshman Pedro Nieto joins the team this season.

“(Pedro) will run great times based on watching him train at practice,” Panzer said.

Meanwhile, sophomore Emersyn Funk returns as a state qualifier to anchor the girls’ team. Funk crossed the finish line in 22:27.5, good for 32nd place at the Class 2A state meet a year ago.

Senior Millie Sechrist joins Funk as a returning letter-winner.

Freshmen Moriah Jost and Ainsley Duell are newcomers to the team this season.

“Moriah and Ainsley pushed each other last year, which will help the girls’ team score this year,” Panzer said.

Panzer will rely on her returning letter-winners to provide leadership for the Trojans this season.

“They all had a new PR this past year and hope to better it,” she said.

Coming—Hillsboro will open the season Thursday at the Smoky Valley Invitational in Lindsborg.