An enjoyable season winds down for Hillcrest boys

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 10/15/21

The Hillcrest boys might not have earned many medals or claimed any trophies this year, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t take anything valuable from the cross country meets over the …

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An enjoyable season winds down for Hillcrest boys

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The Hillcrest boys might not have earned many medals or claimed any trophies this year, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t take anything valuable from the cross country meets over the season. 

“We've had a lot of fun together from the beginning,” Raven coach Marty Gingerich said. “Some of the students are new to the school and being in a sport, and I think especially cross country, is a great way to get to know others in the student body. 

“And then when you go through something like running distance or training hard, together — it's a pretty strong bond, and you can really have a lot of fun together too.”

Collin Miller led the Ravens once again on Thursday, with a time of 19:32. He didn’t set a new personal record on the hilly course at the Big Hollow Recreation Area, but his fourth-place finish was a career best. 

The Ravens finished fourth out of five teams on Thursday — the first time that they finished ahead of another full team all season. Last season, they didn’t have enough boys to record a varsity team score. 

Miller has been a member of the Hillcrest cross country team all four years. 

“We're all pretty close,” he said about this group. “It’s interesting because it’s all freshmen and a few seniors. So we're kind of like the parents of the team and they follow us around. They're a fun group of kids.”

Micah Gerber placed 19th with a time of 21:42, while Jesse Blossom edged Jorge Canchola for 22nd place by four and a half seconds. 

Canchola, a senior, was slowed by a knee injury that has bothered him for most of the season. Thursday was his first race of the season without a knee brace. 

Canchola said that he enjoys running with his teammates during the race. “It helps me a lot,” he said.

Canchola ran near Gerber at the beginning of the race. “Then I let Jesse pass me, because if I would have stayed up with him, I would have killed myself, he said. “I just stayed close to Jesse, he was slowing down, I told him, ‘keep going, you're almost done.’”

While most of the Ravens aren’t usually competing for medals, they’re competing against each other and working to get better. 

“They're comparing themselves to themselves,” Gingerich said. “Actually Garret (Hurst) PR-ed tonight. He's been improving over the last little bit and working harder in practices too.”

Hurst was 45th with a time of 26:32. Quang Huynh was the Ravens’ last scorer, finishing 43 with a time of 25:37. 

Huynh, who is from Vietnam, is in his second year at Hillcrest Academy. He competed in three sports last year and decided to try a fall sport in his senior season.

“I just want to stay in shape for basketball, track and baseball,” Huynh explained. “I just want to be active.”

Diego Ramos didn’t run on Thursday, but he joined the team midseason. He ran a few races and showed some improvement. 

“Diego wasn’t with us, he’s with his host family,” Gingerich said. “But he’s another one that was totally new to the school and new to the country, who jumped right in as part of the group.”

Canchola said the best part of the sport for him is the team bonding.

“This senior group, we’ve been close, we’ve inspired each other. It’s just fun at the end of it to hear, ‘good job.’ It just feels really good.”

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