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Hillsboro varsity teams, middle school boys earn Top 10 finishes at Cedarville Friendship Invitational

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Hillsboro's Brooklyn Lucarello is pictured at the Cedarville Friendship Invitational. (Submitted photos)
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The Hillsboro Indians cross-country teams traveled to Cedarville University on Sept. 16 to participate in the Cedarville Friendship Invitational, with the varsity girls placing second overall and the boys team finishing ninth. The Hillsboro Middle School boys team also earned a fifth-place finish.
The high school boys team started the morning running in sunny, cool weather. When the race was over, the Indians finished ninth out of 23 teams.

As he has done for the entire season, junior Corbin Winkle led the Indian effort. Finishing with a run of 17:25, Winkle notched a 21st-place finish for his team.

“I know Corbin wasn’t thrilled with his time,” said Coach Ed Letts. “But to have an off day and still make it into the Top 25 in a large meet is still solid. He’s worked hard to improve over the past year. He’ll rebound and have a strong season.”

Moments later, Rason Brunck crossed the finish line in 25th place. Coach Letts was happy with the young runner’s time of 17:41.

“I thought Rason ran extremely well today,” Letts said. “His freshman year is off to a great start.”

About one minute later, two more Indians completed their races. Chris Sowders was the first. Sowders finished with an 18:41, good for 57th place. Just behind Sowders was teammate Ryan Howland. Howland crossed the finish line at 18:50 in 59th place.

The next Indian to run the course was Cooper Swope. Swope won a sprint at the finish and earned 98th place with a time of 20:13. A few minutes later, senior Jacob Schommer registered 191st place after posting a 23:31. Hillsboro’s final runner to complete the course was freshman Jayden Wells. Wells finished the course in 26:22, good for 223rd place.

Overall Coach Letts was pleased with his athletes’ performances.

“Chris, Ryan, Cooper, Jacob and Jayden all ran well,” he said. “It’s a great course, and they all stepped up. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
The varsity Hillsboro Lady Indians were the next team to run Cedarville’s course and followed up the men’s success with some of their own. Running against strong competition, the Lady Indians finished in second place out of 14 teams.

Once again, sophomores Jailyn Williams and Taylor Thoroman led the team’s performance. Williams finished in sixth place with an outstanding time of 20:57, while Thoroman finished in 17th place at 21:58.

Only a minute behind was a host of Lady Indians. Seniors Ramsey Haines and Brooklyn Lucarello crossed the finish line first. Haines posted a time of 23:03 (30th place), while Lucarello earned 36th place at 23:23. The next runner to finish was Olivia Covault with a time of 23:42, good for 41st place. In 48th place was junior Abbey Letts at 24:13, followed by Kennedy Sexton at 24:32 (53rd place).

Coach Rob Snavely was pleased with Sexton’s performance.

“Kennedy worked very hard this summer to come in and compete,” said Snavely. “She suffered an injury during the conditioning season and is trying to get back to where she was. I can’t say how happy I am that she did as well as she did for her first meet back.”

Claire Winkle

Shortly after Sexton’s finish, Bree Bailey earned 68th place with a run of 25:05. Claire Winkle ran the course in 27:59 (108th place), and Sofia Mezo-Mil rounded out the team’s performance with a time of 31:59 (139th place).

“Some of our runners are really sore and banged up right now, but they really answered the call. At this point in the season, it’s about working hard and taking care of your body as well as possible. It was awesome to watch almost every one of our runners be in a sprint at the end of the race and beat the other person,” said Snavely. “That shows personal toughness, a willingness to dig deep and to train hard in practice so that you can perform well when everything is on the line.”
Hillsboro’s middle school boys team faced the course next and walked away with a fifth-place finish out of 16 teams.

Alexander Read led the boys team with a time of 12:04, good for 14th place. The next Indians to finish each sprinted to the finish line, just narrowly defeating the runner to his side as they crossed the finish line. Mason Rinal edged out another runner to finish in 37th place with a time of 12:42. With a time of 13:27, Luke Letts edged out three other runners in a dead sprint to the finish line, defeating them all by less than half a second. Letts finished in 64th place and earned a PR.

Hillsboro’s next two runners also finished their races by outsprinting competitors at the finish line. Trenton Gully (79th place) finished at 13:49 and Tyler Bender (101st place) tallied a time of 14:11. Robert Hanson was the final Indian to finish the course. Hanson finished in 177th place with a time of 16:31, a personal best.

Coach Ben Young was proud of his team’s performance and the times for some of his young runners.

“The middle school boys had a fantastic day across the board, especially with Luke Letts and Robert Hanson getting their PRs today,” he said.
The middle school girls team finished the races for the day with some outstanding individual performances as the heat started to bear down on the athletes.

Parker Wilkin led the team with a 51st-place finish and a time of 15:09, a personal best for the young runner. Following Wilkin was teammate Emarey Schurman, who crossed the finish line in 15:43 and earned a 66th-place finish. Hillsboro’s final runner was Abriann Anderson. Anderson ran the course in 18:29, which was good for 131st place.
The Indians will participate in the Fairfield Local Cross-Country Invitational on Sept. 19. The running starts at 5 p.m.