Hillsboro High School senior cross-country runner Joel Allen is attempting to convert a blazing finish at the end of track season last year into cross-country success.
Allen finished third in the 3200-meter run at the state track meet with a time of 10 minutes, 6.81 seconds. To capitalize on that finish, he ran 350 miles this past summer.
“It takes a good amount of self-discipline and determination to run 350 miles like he has this summer,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “His leadership and competitiveness will benefit the team.”
Although he is a senior, Allen moved from Cambridge, Minn., before the winter semester last year. He said one of the reasons he stayed in Cambridge even after his father had moved to Hillsboro was to compete with his high school cross-country team at that state meet.
Allen is joined by returning letter-winners senior Justin King, junior Bret Mueller, and sophomore Josh Richert. Mueller finished 11th at the Mid-Central Activities Association League meet last year.
“These three provide a solid group of guys that all run competitively,” Holmes said. “Hopes are that we will be one of the top teams in the area. However, it takes five scoring runners.”
The likely fifth, sixth, and seventh men on the Trojan team will be sophomore Daniel Gray, and freshmen Clay Etheridge and Avery Franz.
“Will one or two of them be able to run well enough to fill out the team with solid fifth and sixth runners?” Holmes mused.
Returning letter-winner junior Samantha Ens is joined by fellow juniors Brenna Blackketter and Michaela Hinerman and freshman Erin Wiebe.
“We are especially pleased to have four girls out this year compared to one last year,” Holmes said.