Trojans open cross-country season at Smoky Valley
The Kodi Panzer era got off to a good start Thursday with the Trojan cross-country team opening the year at the Smoky Valley Invitational in Lindsborg.
Paced by a 1st place finish from seventh grader Levi Allen, and runner-up Caleb Diener for the freshman-sophomore division, the Trojan boys’ team took fifth with 88 points.
Due to a low number of competitors, the girls’ team was unable to register a team score.
“We did great and it went well,” Panzer said. “All the upperclassmen had faster times than last year at this time at this meet.
“We’re on the right track to reaching our goals. We still need to work on keeping the pace strong for the second mile.”
The last name Allen goes a long way in the history of Hillsboro cross-country with former state champion Joel Allen, now the coach at Tabor College.
Joel’s brother, Levi, showed signs of being the next great runner to come through the program even as a seventh grader.
On the one-mile course, Levi edged Ellinwood’s Chase Gibson for the top spot by one second with a winning time of 5:55.
Eighth grader Josh Diener took 17th on the two-mile course with a 17:35 finish.
Panzer got a glimpse of the future with her trio of eighth grade girls all securing top 10 finishes.
Moriah Jost finished fourth in 14:48, two spots ahead of teammate and sixth-place finisher Ainsley Duell at 16:02 .
Karley Loewen rounded out Hillsboro’s finishers with a ninth-place time of 18:23.
Competing for the freshmen-sophomore girls, Emersyn Funk was fifth at 24:52 on the 5K course.
Caleb Diener spearheaded a solid onslaught for Hillsboro’s underclassmen with a 19:24.
Teammate Tristian Reed wasn’t far behind at seventh, running a 20:03 to close out Hillsboro’s top 10 finishers.
Garrett Tankersley finished 27th, and Nathan Lopez was 34th.
For the upperclassmen, Tucker Moss’ 22:38 was good for 19th out of 45 finishers with Jason Latham, Caleb Kliewer, and Orin Blecha rounding out Hillsboro’s field.
Latham was 36th in 26.20, Kliewer 41st at 26.36, and Blecha at 44th in 28:09.
The Trojans travel Saturday to Wamego with the JV boys starting at 10:30 a.m and the girls and boys at 12 and 12:30 p.m., respectively.