While most high school students are busy during the summer with things such as work, kicking back with friends, and traveling, Hillsboro High School senior cross country standout Nicholas Mueller was putting in hours of running preparing for his final season.
A tough regional meet left him as Hillsboro’s last hope for success Saturday at the 3A state meet at Wamego.
As the only Trojan runner racing, Mueller made the most of the 5k race, securing a medal with a 10th-place time of 17 minutes, 44 seconds.
“Nicholas ran an outstanding race,” an ecstatic Trojan coach Stuart Holmes said. “He ran with great determination and confidence today.
“He has worked so hard during the summer, running more than 300 miles, so it was neat to see his dedication rewarded with a state medal.
“The state course is the most challenging course we ran this year because it is so hilly and yet he still ran an excellent time.
“After pressing the pace for three miles over all those hills, he was still able to sprint in the last 100 meters and pass one more runner. He really ran a complete race.”
Due to Mueller being the sole runner for Hillsboro it wasn’t enough to obtain a score.
The Holcomb Longhorns won the title, beating Southeast of Saline, 72-88, while Hutchinson Trinity, Ellsworth, and Sterling rounded out the top five, respectively.
Herington’s Jason Martin won the race with a time of 17:00.
“The team results confirmed how tough our regional was and how solid our boys’ team was this year,” Holmes said. “The three teams from our regional placed second, third, and fourth out of the 12 teams at state which was gratifying to see.
“But it also was tough on the guys as we beat three of the top-five teams during the season.
“Still, overall it was a very rewarding season and both the girls and guys had outstanding years in so many ways.”