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ENDZONE: HHS cross country

Staff writer

As hot as this summer has been, it would be understandable if athletes didn’t train as hard as they otherwise would, but the Hillsboro High School cross-country team didn’t take any shortcuts in their summer training, coach Stuart Holmes said.

“You can tell that almost all of the athletes have been running on their own this summer, and so as a team, as well as individually, the kids appear poised to have another strong season,” Holmes said. “In addition to demonstrating their self-discipline to train this summer, their attitudes have been very positive, which has made our training runs and games enjoyable.”

Senior Bret Mueller said it was tough to run when temperatures stayed high overnight in July.

“It was hot, it was hard,” he said. “Previous summers, I would get up and run at 7 or 7:30 when it was still cool.”

But there were a couple of items that made it easier to give the effort. Everyone on the team was supposed to run 100 miles before going to cross-country camp in Colorado. He also wants to have the best season he can as a senior.

Senior Samantha Ens and sophomore Erin Wiebe are returning letter-winners on the girls’ team. Newcomers to the team are senior Amy Bartel and freshmen Karyn Leihy and Emily Sechrist.

“It will be tough to compete as a team with the minimum of five runners,” Holmes said, “but the girls could be competitive with some other teams and the potential for individual success is obvious from the desire and ability of the girls.”

The boys’ team has five returning letter-winners from the 2010 team that placed sixth in the state, but they did lose a couple of major contributors. State runner-up Joel Allen and all-league runner Justin King graduated.

“Our leader will be Bret Mueller, who is returning for his senior season as a two-time all-league runner,” Holmes said. “Bret’s dedication should continue to pay dividends, and he will likely have a good improvement on his times from the year before, which has been his pattern in each of the previous three years.”

Juniors Josh Richert and Daniel Gray are also returning letter-winners. Holmes said Richert has had his best summer of training. Unfortunately, Gray broke a bone in his foot at the end of May, and he was cleared to run only recently.

Sophomores Clay Etheridge and Avery Franz are the other returning letter-winners.

Junior Tyler Funk will be in his second year running cross-country. Newcomers to the team are junior Jordan Bezdek, sophomore J.D. Schmidt, and freshman Dylan Hill. Bezdek and Schmidt ran cross-country at their previous schools before enrolling at HHS.

Cross-country season begins Sept. 3 at Augusta. The Central Kansas League meet will be Oct. 13 at Halstead. Regionals is Oct. 22, and state is Oct. 29. The state meet has moved to Rim Rock Farm, the University of Kansas cross-country course near Lawrence.

The team will still race at the Wamego Invitational, which was the previous state site, because it is a challenging, hilly course with good competition, Holmes said.

Last modified Aug. 25, 2011

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