Bigger schools and the flu bug might have slowed the Hillsboro High School cross country team Saturday, but it didn’t halt progress at the Wichita Southeast Cross Country Invitational.
Despite the Lady Trojans not having varsity runners to obtain a team score, and the boys placed 11th out of 15 teams.
Of the schools, only three, including Hillsboro, were smaller than class 5A.
The illness-plagued boys managed to beat out Collegiate and Sunrise Academy for the best placing by the smaller schools.
The 5A Campus Colts ran away with the boys’ title, comfortably outdistancing themselves from Maize, 35-60, while Hillsboro finished with 258 points.
Nathan Vogel posted the best finish for the varsity boys, running a 35th-place time of 18 minutes, 29 seconds.
Nic Mueller finished second for Hillsboro with a time of 18:44 for 40th, and Brandon McMillen came in 55th (19:03).
David Ratzloff entered Saturday posting a personal best time of 19:45 on the year.
However, Ratzloff knocked nearly half a minute off his record time, taking 64th in 19:17.
Jonathan King shaved nearly 30 seconds off his previous best time of 20:03, taking 69th in 19:24.
Robbie McClelland and Matthew Klenda rounded out the varsity finishers with times of 19:36 and 20:54, for 73rd and 84th places, respectively.
“We had some varsity guys that have been ill at some point during the last week which may have affected their times,” head coach Stu Holmes said. “Hopefully, they’ll bounce back next week and help the team be more competitive.”
Arguably, the most progress came in the boys’ junior varsity race.
Bret Mueller’s best time on the year had previously been 20:43.
Bret knocked better than a minute off his time, finishing 13th out of 150 runners in 19:39 for a medal.
Cody Blacketter also snagged a medal, taking 20th in 19:51.
For the Lady Trojans, highlighting the meet was freshman Breanna Blacketter in the junior varsity race.
Breanna knocked more than 30 seconds off her personal best time of 19-flat.
She ran 18:29 for her first medal with a 21st-place finish out of 96 runners.
Also running in the JV was sophomore Tayler Nickel, who came in 64th in 20:51.
For the varsity, Heidi Schroeder’s 46th place time of 18:15 paced Hillsboro, while Jessica Elliot came in 70th out of 75 (19:39).
The Trojans competed Tuesday at Gypsum in the Southeast of Saline meet, results were unavailable at press time.