Hillsboro cross-country returners have been busy this summer conditioning for the upcoming season. Despite the small roster, Coach Stuart Holmes enters his 12th season of coaching confident the team will have a good season.
Four runners have returned to the team this year including defending state champion Emily Sechrist who finished nearly five seconds ahead of the second place finisher at state last season.
“Emily enters her senior season with the same discipline, determination, and talent that has made her one of the top runners in the state,” Holmes said. “She has prepared well and has the opportunity to be one of the top runners again regardless of whether we end up being a (class) 3A or a 2A school this year.”
Sechrist broke the school record by nearly two seconds last season.
Fellow state qualifier senior Karyn Leihy has been working this summer in hopes of setting a lower personal record.
“This season I would really like to see a big decrease in my 4K times,” she said. “I’m not so worried about the placing at state as long as I can personally see improvement.”
To achieve this goal, Leihy began her summer in the weight room to build strength through lifting and speed through sprints and agility exercises. She spent her summer vacation in Wyoming hiking and rock climbing. She also swam laps in the Hillsboro City Pool to help build strength.
“Total I ran a little over 100 miles,” she said.
Last season Leihy placed ninth at regionals and 48th at state.
“Hopefully with her added experience and determination to be more competitive as a senior, she will have a successful season,” Holmes said.
Also returning to the team is junior Lydia Kliewer. This is Kliewer’s second year on the team. Holmes said he is anxious to start this season just as strong by improving on her personal best times from last year.
The only male on the team, sophomore Jonathan Hinerman is returning after finishing 16th at regionals. Hinerman worked hard to finish his season strong after a slow start, Holmes said. This season he hopes to qualify for state.
“Jonathan’s competitive races last year as a freshman showed promise, and I know he will be working to improve,” Holmes said.