It’s been a year of firsts for Sierra Compton and the Hillsboro girls cross country program: her first individual win, the team’s first win in two decades and now, as of Monday, Oct. 19, the team’s first all-conference member since the program’s return.
After finishing 18th last year as a freshman, Compton was the first runner not wearing a Roxana jersey to cross the finish line at the South Central Conference meet at Southwestern High School in Piasa as she finished sixth overall and earned all-conference honors for the first time.
Compton ran a 21:19 to finish 15 seconds behind Riley Doyle of Roxana, who finished fifth in the pack of Shells who took the top five spots. Janelynn Wirth, Keiko Palen, Gabs Woodruff and Zoey Losch would finish first through fourth.
According to Greg Shashack’s story in The Telegraph of Alton, the finish was planned that way as Roxana Coach Scott Edwards believed his top five runners could finish in the first five positions and had them draw cards to determine their finishing position. The Lady Shells hope that holding back some on Monday will translate into a regional title in Carlinville this Saturday, Oct. 24.
Roxana’s juggernaut existence this year, coupled with a strong start by Litchfield, who had three runners in the top ten, made Compton’s solo performance all the more remarkable.
If Compton can advance out of this Saturday’s sectional, it won’t be a first for Hillsboro, or even a first for Compton, who made it out of regionals last year, but she does have the opportunity to be one of the Toppers’ best postseason runners in a long time.
Overall, Hillsboro would be missing a few runners, including Compton’s sister Vanessa and fellow senior Alecia Miller, but Coach Rem Dyas’ crew still hung in there and delivered a team total of 111 points to finish sixth.
Roxana was first with 15 points, followed by Litchfield with 77, Staunton with 97, Southwestern with 106 and Pana with 108.
Sophomore Avery Smith turned in a solid performance and time as she took 25th overall with a mark of 24:05, while teammate Kelsey Holtgrave was 26th with a time of 24:24. Meagan White was just four seconds behind her teammate in 28th with a time of 24:28, while Jade Christian contributed a 30:30 to finish 43rd.
The Lady Hiltoppers will put a bow on what has been a challenging, but rewarding season on Saturday, Oct. 24, as they compete in the Carlinville Regional at Loveless Park, which starts at 10 a.m. with the number one and number two runners, followed by the number three and number four runners at 10:45 a.m. and number five, six and seven runners at 11:30 a.m.
The top five teams and top five runners not on an advancing team will move on to the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional meet at Hickory Point Golf Course on Oct. 31.
October 19 at Piasa
Girls South Central Conference Meet
Team Results: 1. Roxana 15; 2. Litchfield 77; 3. Staunton 97; 4. Southwestern 106; 5. Pana 108; 6. Hillsboro 111.
Hillsboro (111) - 6. Sierra Compton 21:19; 25. Avery Smith 24:05; 26. Kelsey Holtgrave 24:24; 28. Meagan White 24:28; 43. Jade Christian 30:30.