Finishing in fourth place at the conference meet in 2019, the Hillsboro girls cross country team is aiming for higher targets in 2020. The team returns a couple of state qualifiers, as well six of their top seven runners from last year, a fact that has head coach Lane Woodside excited about his prospect this season.
“My expectations for this season are pretty high since we have six returning of our top seven,” Woodside remarked. “I would like to see us compete for meet championships throughout the season as well, and be in the hunt for championships come post-season time when conference and districts come along.”
That’s completely possible this season. And to imagine what might have been possible if Emma Wright hadn’t graduated early after her junior year. Wright finished 13th at conference, and 25th at district and qualified for state. Nevertheless, the roster looks strong, led by young runners that have experienced the highs and lows of the sport.
Anna Crosby returns after a stellar freshman season. Crosby was the top finisher at conference (fourth) and district (18th), but she didn’t qualify for state after her 38th place finish at sectionals. Michelle Jones, a junior, also returns after finishing 24th at district and qualifying for state. Abby Couch, a senior, was also recognized as all-district with her 27th place finish, as she stamped her ticket to state as well after sectionals. “Our top and key athletes obviously will start with our returning all-district and state qualifiers Anna, Michelle, and Abby,” Coach Woodside said. “I feel like the experience those girls received last year will help them in our competitive meets this year. I also see senior Brianna Langrehr having a strong final season after seeing the work she has put in this summer. Langrehr and Crosby have been our leaders so far this summer.”
Langrehr and Makenzi Allen will be running their final seasons for the Hawks, while Marissa Barton comes back for her junior campaign. Woodside said the example some of the girls have set should prove to be motivation. “I hope that the successful seasons that we saw from Anna, Abby, and Michelle will help push the other girls. Hopefully the rest of the girls see the work they put in, and where it got them, and we see the rest of the team take that step.”
Woodside anticipates others contributing this season such as juniors Christi Davidson and Mia Phillips. He also mentioned sophomores Sophia Horrell, Riley Kruse, Kylie Moore, and Lexi Wallis. And as always…”We always get freshman and other surprises once school starts,” the coach pointed out.
The girls began their season on Friday, August 28 at the TRXC Timing ABC Invitational in St. Charles.