The four athletes who competed in the orange and black at Saturday's cross country regional in Carlinville may not have an official "team" at Hillsboro High School, but that didn't keep them from having some success at the meet on Oct. 21, at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds.
Despite going up against runners who have had a season of meets and preparation, the team of Mady Rupert, Riley Hemken, Blayze Horn and Layla May more than held their own against the competition, with Rupert earning her second straight trip to sectionals.
After finishing 14th last year at the Shelbyville Regional to advance to sectionals, Rupert finished 11th on Saturday in a time of 21:16.21, the second fastest time amongst individuals not on a qualifying team.
Her teammates were a little further back in the field, but still ran well in their regional debuts. Hemken would finish 41st with a time of 23:23.83, while Horn ran a 24:16.42 to finish 52nd. May would finish 68th, clocking in at 26:43.02.
While the three newcomers to the team are all cross country novices, all three come from athletic backgrounds, albeit diverse ones. Hemken plays softball in the spring for the Toppers, while Horn is a part of a talented group of players on the Hillsboro girls soccer team. May's transition seems to be the simpliest, having run track last spring, but that too is deceiving since the Hillsboro sophomore was a long jumper, triple jumper and 400 meter run for the Toppers last year.
Rupert, who also runs distance for the Hillsboro track team, will try to continue her cross country season on Saturday, Oct 27, at the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course. If she can finish in the top five amongst individuals not on an advancing team, she will move on to the IHSA State Finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday, Nov. 3.
October 20 at Carlinville
Class 1A Girls Regional
Team Results: 1. Litchfield 51, 2. Staunton 66, 3. Shelbyville 82, 4. Auburn 120, 5. Carlinville 131, 6. Central A&M, 7. Altamont 156, 8. Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City 164, 9. Pana 221.
Individual Champion: Lydia Roller (Staunton) 17:46.27
Advancing Individuals: Riley Vickery (Marquette) 19:06; Mady Rupert (Hillsboro) 21:16; Laina Wilderman (Southwestern) 21:27; Lily Baumgartner (Carrollton) 21:28; Haley Bartels (Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City) 21:51.
Hillsboro Girls Results: 11. Mady Rupert 21:16.21; 41. Riley Hemken 23:23.83; 52. Blayze Horn 24:16.42; 68. Layla May 26:43.02.