A strong performance by Hillsboro cross-country runners led to a first place win by Emily Sechrist and two other teammates, Karyn Leihy and Avery Franz, qualifying for state.
Sechrist completed the course at Sugar Valley Golf Course in Mound City with a time of 15 minutes, 1 second, coming in 51 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
“Emily continued her stellar season with another win as expected, but the big question was whether Karyn and Avery would qualify,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “Both ran excellent races and set personal records to earn their way to state.”
Leihy finished ninth out of 41 runners with a time of 16:42 to qualify. Franz placed 12th out of 45 runners with a time of 18:36.
“The fact that Avery and Karyn were able to run their fastest times ever on a fairly hilly course shows that they both ran with extra determination and focus,” Holmes said.
This is the first time senior Franz has qualified for state since his freshman year, when he qualified as part of a team. Leihy becomes the second female runner in school history to qualify for state, the first being Sechrist.
Teammate Jonathan Hinerman finished with a time of 19:30. Tristan Donaldson was the second-highest-placing freshman with a time of 24:22, and Lydia Kliewer set a new personal best with a time of 19:30.
Franz, Leihy, and Sechrist will travel to Wamego Saturday for the 2A state race. Girls race starting at 11 a.m. and boys at 12:30 p.m.