Hillsboro cross-country coach Stuart Holmes said he is looking forward to this upcoming season and has a few runners he’s excited about returning. Junior Emily Sechrist is returning after placing second at state last year.
“She is very dedicated,” Holmes said. “She’s one of the top runners in the area.”
Sechrist says she runs from 5 to 11 miles per day, but said she wasn’t always this dedicated.
“I hated running at first,” she said. “I didn’t have my first pair of running shoes until middle school track.”
It was middle school track where Sechrist said she started enjoying running. She participated in speed, distance, and hurdle events. Sechrist joined cross country her freshman year on a whim.
“I realized I was pretty good, so I joined just to join and hoped to maybe medal,” she said.
Sechrist won state her freshman year and set the school record for a 4K. She placed second her sophomore year. This year as a junior, she hopes to place first again.
“I like cross-country because it’s an individual sport where I can work hard and do my best, but also work as a team and have the encouragement,” she said.
Sechrist has been practicing all summer and is in great shape according to Holmes.
“I’ve been running every day and went to running camp,” she said.
To get in the race mindset, Sechrist listens to Christian rock during warm ups and prays.
She said she hopes to do well this season in order to get cross-country scholarships in college.
All league runners Karyn Leihy and Avery Franz are also returning.
“We have eight runners,” Holmes said. “It’s too early to tell who will do well this season.”
Holmes said he wants the older members to encourage younger runners to do better.
“I want each member to have a positive experience,” he said. “I want members to rely on each other for encouragement and to do fun things as a team to build their bonds.”
They started practicing Monday. They practice at 6:30 a.m. with a run around country roads.
They open their season Sept. 14 in Wamego.
- Sept. 14: At Wamego, 10 a.m.
- Sept. 19: At Peabody-Burns, 3:30 p.m.
- Sept. 24: Southeast of Saline, 4:30 p.m.
- Sept. 28: At Lawrence, 9 a.m.
- Oct. 3: At Berean Academy, 4 p.m.
- Oct. 10: At Sterling, 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 17: Central Kansas League, 4 p.m. at Hesston.
- Nov. 26: Regionals, 11 a.m. at site to be determined.
- Nov. 2: State, 10 a.m. at Lawrence.