Hillsboro cross-country coach Stuart Holmes started each of the past three cross-country seasons with reasonable expectations that at least one Trojans runner would make it to state. Emily Sechrist was a virtual lock to make it after winning the Class 3A title as a freshman in 2011.
Sechrist has moved on to Oklahoma Baptist University, and among this season’s Trojans there is no sure bet any of them will make it past the regional meet.
Junior Jonathan Hinerman appears to have the best shot at qualifying for the state meet. He placed 16th at a regional meet as a freshman, and worked hard over the summer, Holmes said.
“Jonathan has run more miles this summer than in the past, and is looking to be even more competitive as a result,” he said.
Pushing Hinerman will be fellow junior Tristan Donaldson, who looks stronger than last year, Holmes said.
Sophomore Samuel Damon and freshmen Tucker Moss and Caleb Rempel are newcomers that Holmes said have “shown potential and are making progress.”
Senior Lydia Kliewer will anchor the girls’ team, which also lost state-qualifier Karyn Leihy to graduation. Holmes said Kliewer’s experience and leadership would be important to the success of new teammates Allison Maxfield, a senior, and Abby Driggers, a freshman with two years of middle school cross-country experience.
“Overall, practice has been going well,” Holmes said. “Even though we have a fair amount of runners who are unproven, hopefully they will show great improvement as the year progresses. My goal each year is that each runner would improve as a person, student, and runner.”