A year after winning the 3A state cross-country championship with a time of 16 minutes, 3 seconds, Hillsboro High School sophomore Emily Sechrist cut her time on the same course by 28 seconds Saturday at Rim Rock Farm outside Lawrence.
But the improvement wasn’t enough to repeat as state cross-country champion. Sechrist finished at 15:35, behind sophomore Jordan Puvogel of Hiawatha, who finished in 15:30. Hiawatha was reclassified from 4A to 3A this year.
After the race, Sechrist focused more on her improved time than her placement.
“I really can’t be disappointed,” she said.
“Emily gave a tremendous effort and ran great,” coach Stuart Holmes said. “Her dedication and commitment to running have been outstanding again this year.”
Sechrist said plans to keep working to be the best runner she can be.
“My goal is to keep running and doing my best, and if God wants me to keep running, that’s what I’ll do,” she said.
Richert cuts 27 seconds from 2011 state time
Sechrist wasn’t the only HHS runner to significantly improve on 2011. Senior Josh Richert ran the boys’ 5-kilometer race in 17:32.
“Josh improved his time from last year at state by 27 seconds,” Holmes said. “We’ll miss his determination and excellent racing next year.”
Richert also improved his placement by one spot, from 17th to 16th, to earn a second state medal. His average mile time was 5:38.
State was the coldest race of the year for HHS runners, which made the course difficult. The grass at Rim Rock Farm was rimed in frost when the first competitors began arriving.
“With temperatures in the upper 30s for Emily’s race and in the low 40s for Josh’s race, both turned in an outstanding performance and gave everything they had,” Holmes said. “