Hillcrest hosts final race before SEISC meet

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 10/6/21

Hillcrest senior Collin Miller ran the hill from the Joetown woods up to the cinder track for the final time in a Raven uniform on Monday. 

Miller burned through his last reserves of energy …

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Hillcrest hosts final race before SEISC meet

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Hillcrest senior Collin Miller ran the hill from the Joetown woods up to the cinder track for the final time in a Raven uniform on Monday. 

Miller burned through his last reserves of energy on the homestretch and finished the challenging course with a new personal best of 19:47, placing 28th at the annual Hillcrest Academy Invitational. 

Senior Leah Bontrager took home a medal from her final race around the Hillcrest campus with a 16th-place finish of 23:07 — nearly three minutes faster than her first race of the season on the same course in August. 

Lone Tree freshman Vivian Zaruba finished in under 27 minutes to take 35th place. 

For Hillcrest, Delaney Shaw was 38th with a time of 27:35, while Morgyn Nafziger and Julia Boller finished 40th and 41st. 

“I thought the girls ran pretty well across the board,” Hillcrest coach Marty Gingerich said. “Leah obviously wanted to do well in her final time here. 

“They maybe didn’t all do PRs, but this is a fairly tough course. Although fortunately today it wasn’t muddy. We actually had really good conditions today. I was pleased with how they ran. Julia also ran well today.”

Regina Catholic’s Mya Whitaker won the girls race with a time of 21:16, while Washington senior Lance Sobaski finished first in the boys race with a time of 17:12. 

Jesse Blossom was second across the finish line for the Hillcrest boys, finishing 49th with a time of 22:52. 

Blossom said that the Hillcrest course is a little tougher than the average course, and he’s hoping to break 22 minutes and get a new PR at the conference meet on Thursday. 

“I think our home course is brutal,” he said. “We go up that steep hill by the woods three times,and there’s another really steep long hill in the woods that we do three times as well. 

“I felt good,” he said. “I’m pretty sure my first mile was my best time, but I feel like I really pushed myself hard on the third mile as well.”

Lone Tree freshman Taylor Alberhasky was 12 seconds behind Blossom in 50th place. Jadin Grieser and Joey Birtcher finished 54th and 55th for the Lions with times of 23:31 and 23:48, respectively. 

Hillcrest senior Jorge Canchola was 56th with a time of 23:50 and freshman Diego Ramos finished 57th in his first meet of the season. 

Freshman Garrett Hurst finished 58th in 26:58, a personal record by 90 seconds. Isaac Lybeck finished 62nd.  

“Garrett ran a pretty big PR, he’s further back in our pack, but he really had a good race today,” Gingerich said.  

Collin Miller’s PR was his second sub 20-minute performance of the season. 

“He went after it pretty hard at the beginning, but kept going pretty good,” Gingerich said.“It was Diego’s first time, this is totally new to him, and he survived it well. I’m sure he had his ups and downs during the race, but he followed instructions well and had a strong finish. It was good to see.”

Miller also led the Raven boys at the Iowa City Kickers soccer park on Thursday in a meet with a mix of large schools and smaller schools hosted by City High. Miller finished 86th with a time of 22:10, and Quang Huynh was next for the Ravens in 98th with a time of 29:05. Bontager led the Hillcrest girls with a 42nd place finish of 23:29. Nafziger was the Ravens’ second runner on Thursday with a 88th place finish of 29:55.

The Lone Tree and Highland cross country teams were at the Washington Invitational on Tuesday, September 28. Zaruba finished in the top half of the field with a 19th place finish of 24:06. 

Carlos Valenzuela led the area boys, finishing 32nd out of 66 with a time of 21:18. His fellow Huskie Jackson Schneider was 49th with a time of 23:14. 

Grieser crossed the finish line next in 50th place to lead the Lone Tree boys with a finish of 23:23. 

Highland, Hillcrest and Lone Tree will be in Wapello on Thursday at Heritage Oaks Golf Course for the Southeast Iowa Super Conference meet. 

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