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Allen finishes 2nd at Wamego

Staff writer

The Hillsboro High School cross-country team finished sixth Saturday at the state meet at Wamego.

Joel Allen finished second behind Austin Bogina of Arma-Northeast. Allen ran a time of 16 minutes, 33.48 seconds, about two seconds slower than Bogina.

The next closest runner finished 40 seconds behind Allen.

“Joel did everything it takes to win a state championship but just came up less than two seconds behind another outstanding runner,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “Joel’s time would have won any of the past three years in 3A. For Hillsboro, it is the fastest finish ever at Wamego, even though the course has changed since 2003, making it even more difficult.”

The race was tight from the outset. Both runners pushed out strong from the starting line and continued to battle throughout the course. Allen said the lead changed several times, with the two runners continuously fighting for the top spot.

Allen said the difference in the race came down to a subtle difference in strategy. Because of steep hills throughout the course, a harrier’s strategy is structured around those sharp inclines and declines. Allen decided to expend his energy charging uphill and relax heading downhill. Allen said he built his largest lead on the second to last hill of the race.

Bogina’s strategy was the exact opposite. He took it easier on the uphill but charged downhill. The last stretch of the race is downhill.

“This finish favored him,” Allen said. “The race was a little easier on him than on me. The one thing is you don’t gain as much ground (charging uphill).”

Allen said Bogina finished about 4 meters ahead. The Hillsboro runner wished he had gone with Bogina a little sooner when the Arma runner started his sprint to the finish.

“It was a great finish,” Allen said. “We’re about as close as it comes to being equal. There was not a lot of distance between us.”

The Hillsboro senior added that if he had a second chance at the race, he would have adopted Bogina’s strategy.

“He definitely lead the race for a higher percentage of the time,” Allen said.

Allen still finished 17 seconds faster than his previous time at Wamego earlier this season.

“Being in great shape and still improving that much, speaks volumes to how hard he trained during the season as well as how determined he ran at state,” Holmes said. “Not only does Joel finish his senior season as the school record-holder, but his second-place finish at state is the highest in school history.”

The next Hillsboro runner to cross the finish line was Justin King who placed 24th with a time of 18:21.83.

“He finished a successful senior season, placing 24th only a few spots back from earning a state medal, which is good for anyone but great for someone who is only in his second season of cross-country,” Holmes said. “Justin has been a great competitor like Joel and we’ll miss their athletic ability and competitive attitude next year.”

Junior Bret Mueller placed 35th with a time of 18:38.27 a little over 10 seconds ahead of Josh Richert who finished 41st.

Hillsboro freshmen Avery Franz and Clay Etheridge finished in the 90s, Franz at 90, 20:27.84, and Etheridge at 93, 20:38.05. Daniel Gray placed 96th, 21:15.39.

Last modified Nov. 3, 2010

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