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Hillsboro varsity girls win Fairfield Invitational; Indians 2nd, Winkle individual winner

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Hillsboro's Chris Sowders runs in the Fairfield Invitational. (Submitted photos)
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The Hillsboro Indians cross-country team traveled north to battle in the Fairfield Invitational on Sept. 19. As has been the case all season, there were numerous outstanding individual and team performances, including the varsity girls team winning the invitational and the boys finishing as event runners-up.
The Lady Indians were led by senior Ramsey Haines. After sprinting to the finish line, Haines finished with an impressive 23:06 and took third place overall. Haines’s performance went a long way to help her team earn first place in the team standings.

“Ramsey’s times have really been coming down,” said Coach Rob Snavely. “It was so nice to see her do well and come close to breaking 23 minutes. That’s the next big hurdle for her.”

Shortly after Haines, Jailyn Williams finished in fourth place with a time of 23:31. Following Haines and Williams were a host of Lady Indians. Brooklyn Lucarello edged out teammate Olivia Covault in a sprint to the finish line. Lucarello earned seventh place with a time of 23:39, and Covault took eighth place at 24:40. Abbey Letts followed up with a ninth-place finish by running a 25:06, giving the Lady Indians five of the top 10 runners.

Just behind Letts was Kennedy Sexton in 12th place after crossing the finish at 25:20.

Claire Winkle and Sofia Mezo-Mil were the final two runners to finish the race. After Winkle finished in 19th (29:20) and Mezo-Mil earned 26th (35:47), Snavely praised his two young freshman runners.

“I know Sofia was not happy after the race,” he said. “She knows she could have run much faster, and she wanted to do better. I love seeing her competitiveness. The same way with Claire. Claire really competed to catch the runner at the end but came up just short. Again, I loved seeing her competitiveness.”

The men’s team finished the meet with some outstanding individual performances. The team was second in the overall standings behind the strength of first-, second- and fourth-place individual performances.

Garnering a first-place medal for the team was Corbin Winkle with a time of 17:36. Shortly after Winkle’s finish, Rason Brunck crossed the finish line to earn second place. About a minute later, teammate Chris Sowders tallied a fourth-place medal with a 19:36.

The final two Indian runners were Jacob Schommer and Jayden Wells. Schommer, a senior, finished in 31st place by running the course in 25:39, while Wells, a freshman, crossed the line at 26:22 and earned 33rd place.

“Corbin and Rason taking the top two spots with Chris right behind at fourth kept us competitive, and Jacob and Jayden fought hard for us,” said Coach Ed Letts. “I’m extremely proud of the effort these young men put forth today. We were down a couple runners, but everyone did their best to step up. We’re definitely looking forward to being at full strength for the county meet next week.”

Running in a combined race, the middle school boys and girls teams tackled the course at the same time. The boys team ended up finishing the team standings in third place, while the girls did not have enough runners to score as a team.

The boys were led by eighth grader Alex Read. Finishing with a time of 12:35, Read found himself in a tight race with Eastern Brown’s Dalton Day. For the final 200 meters of the race, Read and Day sprinted stride-for-stride with each other to the finish. In what appeared to be a tie, Read crossed the finish line .01 seconds faster to claim second place.

Teammate Mason Rinal wasn’t far behind. Rinal, a seventh grader, finished in 13:17, good for fifth place.

Trenton Gulley and Luke Letts were the next two runners to finish the course. Gulley (18th place) registered a 14:23, while Letts (19th place) ran a 14:33.

Tyler Bender followed up shortly after Gulley and Letts. Bender crossed the line with a time of 15:25, earning 26th place. Robert Hanson was the final runner to complete the course. Hanson finished in 44th place at 18:21.

The girls team fielded just three runners, Parker Wilkin, Emarey Schurman and Abriann Anderson. Wilkin paced the team with a run of 15:59, good for eighth place, while Schurman finished the course in 16:52 (12th place) and Anderson earned 16th place with a time of 18:49.

Coach Fawn Girard was pleased with her team’s effort and running.

“The middle school team ran a hard race,” said Girard. “All the girls had amazing pushes at the end and finished strong. I’m super proud of the progress they are making.”
The Indians will take their first weekend of the season off and return to action on Wednesday, Sept. 27 by hosting the Highland County Meet at Hillsboro’s Athletic Complex at the High School and Middle School.

A Fun Run for any children in grades K-6 will be held at 4:30, with registration taking place from 4-4:25 p.m. at the concession stand. At 4:45 p.m., the team’s seniors will be honored at senior night, and the races will start at 5 p.m. Admission is $2 for anyone wanting to attend.