For the fourth year in a row, the Hillsboro girls cross country team will have a representative at the sectional meet.
Despite not having an official school-sponsored team, the Lady Hiltoppers have continued to build on the program over the last few years and had a solid outing on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Carlinville Regional at Loveless Park.
The team would finish seventh overall with 189 points, 46 away from the fifth and final team qualifying spot, but snapped up one of the five individual qualifying spots for a runner not on a qualifying team.
Sophomore Sierra Compton, who finished 19th last year at the Shelbyville Regional to advance to sectionals, finished ninth in a field loaded with talented runners from Shelbyville, Father McGivney and South Central Conference champion Roxana.
Compton would run a 20:18.42 to be the first runner not on an advancing team to cross the finish line and the ninth fastest finisher overall on the day. Just where Compton would end up in the rankings was complicated though, as the race was run in a flighted format (ones and twos ran first, followed by threes and fours and fives, sixes and sevens), so Compton had to wait until all results were in to see if she advanced on to the sectional in Decatur next Saturday.
Not only did Compton advance, but she also posted Hillsboro’s best regional finish in girls cross country in at least two decades. In addition to her 19th place finish last year, Maddy Ruppert had made it to sectionals in 2017 and 2018 with an 11th and 14th place finish, while Shonda Kasten and Sarah Thacker advanced to sectionals in 2000 by finishing in 19th and 23rd respectively.
The Toppers narrowly missed having a second Compton in Decatur next week as Sierra’s older sister Vanessa was the ninth fastest of the runners’ not on an advancing team. The senior Compton ran a 22:16.36 to finish 30th overall.
Unofficially, the other four Hiltoppers to race on Saturday would put up some of their best times of the season. Both Meagan White and Avery Smith broke 24 minutes on the day, with White running a 23:35.99 and Smith clocking in at 23:53.45.
Seniors Alecia Miller and Jade Christian also improved on their marks. Miller ran a 28:06.92 to finish 78th, while Christian finished 80th with a time of 29:28.89 to break 30 minutes for the first time this season.
Compton’s success and the team’s improvement continues to grow the cross country program at Hillsboro, which was cut in 2003. While next week will be the final race for the squad for the year, it’s just the next step in the journey for Topper XC.
October 24 at Carlinville
Class 1A Regional
Loveless Park - 3 Miles
Team Results: 1. Shelbyville 38; 2. Roxana 48; 3. Father McGivney 86; 4. Litchfield 136; 5. Alton Marquette 143; 6. Staunton 186; 7. Hillsboro 189; 8. Pana 191; 9. Cowden-Herrick 230; 10. Southwestern 244; 11. Greenville 268; 12. Metro-East Lutheran 285.
Individual Top Ten: 1. Gabrielle Spain (Shelbyville) 18:38.70; 2. Kaitlyn Hatley (Father McGivney) 19:15.86; 3. Riley Doyle (Roxana) 19:17.49; 4. Kailey Vickrey (Marquette) 19:46.80; 5. Ellie Nohren (Shelbyville) 19:52.92; 6. Book Schutt (Shelbyville) 20:00.92; 7. Janelynn Wirth (Roxana) 20:11.61; 8. Alyssa Terhaar (Father McGivney) 20:12.77; 9. Sierra Compton (Hillsboro) 20:18.42; 10. Carolyn White (Shelbyville) 20:21.27.
Hillsboro (189) - 9. Sierra Compton 20:18.42; 30. Vanessa Compton 22:16.36; 47. Meagan White 23:35.99; 52. Avery Smith 23:53.45; 78. Alecia Miller 28:06.92; 80. Jade Christian 29:28.89.