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Allen takes another stride toward title

Staff writer

Hillsboro High School senior cross-country runner Joel Allen started the race Thursday in Peabody fast and he never lost pace.

He led the race the entire way, during the third lap he was coming down the hill on the far section of the course while the second- and third-place runners were just starting their climb.

Allen won the race with a time of 18 minutes, 7 seconds. Several runners noted that the course seemed long and he adjusted his time, projecting that he would have run in the 17-minute range on a normal course.

He set the pace to win in Peabody and is on track to reach lofty goals he set for himself after track season last year.

Allen ran 350 miles over the summer with the goal of becoming a state champion and running a time under 16:30. The Hillsboro school record is 16:28.

He was part of a 2A state qualifying cross-country team in Cambridge, Minn last year before moving to Hillsboro. There are only two divisions in Minnesota High School Cross Country. Only 16 teams qualify for in each division; 10 teams qualify in each of the six divisions in Kansas.

Allen knew he was a better 5-kilometer runner than a 2-mile runner, the 2-mile race requiring more speed from its champions. However, when Allen finished third at the 2-mile race at the state track meet this past spring, it reaffirmed his belief in his abilities as a cross-country runner.

“I knew I would be one of the top runners in 3A,” he said.

Thus far, Allen has won two of three tournaments in which he has competed.

Allen has also been impressed with the performance of the the rest of the Trojan squad. Allen said Hillsboro is ranked seventh in 3A. The Trojans won the team title in Peabody with strong finishes from the other male runners.

Brett Mueller finished seventh with a time of 19:40.36; Josh Richert finished 10th, 19:52.32; Justin King crossed the finish line right behind Richert, 19:58.01; and freshman Avery Franz finished 29th, 21:38.43.

“Our fifth runner right now, he’s only going to get better,” Allen said of Franz, as he builds up his aerobic fitness level.

While the Trojans are optimistic as a team, Allen said his former team in Cambridge is rebuilding. He thinks the team will celebrate his victories in Kansas as if he were still a part of the team.

“I definitely think my success motivates them,” Allen said.

Results

33. Samantha Ens, 21:17.89.

Last modified Sept. 23, 2010

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