Hillcrest’s Yoder a top finisher among area teams at Knoll Ridge

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 9/20/23

The Hillcrest, Lone Tree, and Highland cross country teams took a trip to North English to compete in the English Valleys Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 12.

This cross-country meet took …

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Hillcrest’s Yoder a top finisher among area teams at Knoll Ridge


The Hillcrest, Lone Tree, and Highland cross country teams took a trip to North English to compete in the English Valleys Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 12.

This cross-country meet took place at the Knoll Ridge golf course, making the route runners had to traverse jam packed with hills. 

Another aspect of this course that was different from the norm was it being 4.45 kilometers long instead of 5 kilometers, making the times quicker than normal. 

In the boys varsity race 66 runners crossed the finish line and in the girls varsity race 49 runners crossed the finish line.

Taking first place in the boys race was Pekin junior Brady McWhirter with a time of 15:47.27 and Pekin sophomore Chloe Glosser placed first in the girls race with a time of 18:12.51.

Pekin also won the boys and girls team titles with total times of 1:25:19 and 1:46:19 respectively.

Hillcrest Results 

Staying consistently exceptional in her first year of cross-country, Hillcrest freshman Marie Yoder conquered North English’s hilly course with a time of 19:18.80 to claim second place. 

Yoder was one of two runners in the girls race to post a sub-20-minute time and she was Hillcrest’s top performer at this meet. 

For Hillcrest junior Delaney Shaw, this trip to North English marked the first time in her high school career she has tackled this course. She crossed the finish line with a time of 23:58.52 to place 25th. 

Hillcrest’s third and final runner to complete the course on the girl’s side was freshman Brynna O’Rourke. She was able to end her run on with a time of 23:58.52 to take 31st place. 

The top performance on the Hillcrest’s boys team belonged to junior Micah Gerber. 

Gerber completed the race with a time of 17:44.76. This time was fast enough to earn him ninth place and give Hillcrest eight team points. 

Finishing just outside the top 10 was Hillcrest junior Jesse Blossom. Blossom crossed the finish line with a time of 18:08.29 to place 11th and give Hillcrest 10 team points. 

Freshman Isaac Beachy was the next runner to cross the finish line for Hillcrest and he did it with a time of 19:33.11 to place 23rd. This finish also gave Hillcrest 19 team points. 

Hillcrest freshman Braden Hartsock and junior Kyle Neuschwander placed 39th and 50th, respectively. 

Hartsock earned his placement with a time of 21:37.66 and acquired 31 team points. Neuschwander finished with a time of 22:32.61 to give his team 38 points.  

Junior Jeremiah Danker was the last Raven to complete the course. Danker placed 53rd with a time of 22:38.21 and obtained 41 team points. 

As a team the Hillcrest boys placed fourth in a field of eight teams. The Ravens had a total time of 1:39:36.43 with an overall team score of 106. 

Highland Results 

While Highland’s girls team did not have enough runners to qualify for team points, that did not stop the Huskies from producing some strong individual running performances at Knoll Ridge.

The top performance for the Huskies belonged to sophomore Siena Stanerson, who gave Highland a top 10 finish. 

Running through the demanding course at an admirable pace, Stanerson conquered the race with a time of 21:42.30. Her time placed her 10th overall, her best placement of the season. 

Another Husky who earned her best placement of the season was sophomore Erika Thomann.

Not too far behind her fellow sophomore teammate, Erika completed the course with a time of 22:19.86. This time allowed her to place 13th, a 10-spot improvement from her first race of the season at Hillcrest. 

Senior Halle Hazelett rounds out the trio of Huskies on the girls team who finished this course. Hazelett ended the race with a time of 26.27.10 to give herself a placement of 40th. 

  On the boys side for the Huskies they had enough runners in the competition to qualify for team points. Overall, Highland collected 146 team points to finish seventh in the team standings. 

Highland junior Brock Thomann led the boys team with a 14th place finish. He earned this top 15 finish for Highland by ending the race with a time of 18:33.33.

The next Huskies to cross the finish line were three sophomores: Chase Hickenbottom, Jack Krotz, and Brayden Zywiec. 

 Hickenbottom’s time of 21:00.12 earned him a 35th place finish, Krotz’s time of 21:28.04 gave him a 41st place finish, and Zywiec placed 44th with a final time of 21:57.72. 

Following those three sophomores finishes for Highland was freshman Issac Giesmann. Giesmann placed 52nd, finishing one second ahead of the next runner, with a final time of 22:37.54. 

Highland’s lone senior on the boys team, Jackson Schneider, put together a performance that earned him a 58th place finish by virtue of completing the course with a time of 23:40.90. 

Finishing the race back-to-back, Highland sophomore Spencer Thompkin and freshman Jackson Robinson round out the Huskies who completed the course.

With nearly identical times Thompkin placed 63rd with a time of 27:05.14 and Robinson placed 64th with a time of 27:05.73. 

Lone Tree Results

Both the girls team and the boys team for Lone Tree raced with incomplete teams at North English, which meant they could not earn any team points and were not ranked in the team standings.

It was junior Vivian Zaruba who gave the Lady Lions their top performance at Knoll Ridge.

Zaruba ran a well-paced race through the tiring terrain and crossed the finish line with a time of 21:58.68, finishing three seconds ahead of the next runner. Her time was fast enough to place her 12th.

Only two Lady Lions completed the course, and the other finish belongs to sophomore Jazmine Nino. Nino finished the race with a time of 24:09.18. Her efforts gave her a placement of 26th.

On the boys team freshman Brock Nebergal led the Lions with a 16th place time of 18:38.67, crossing the finish line 10 seconds faster than the next runner.

Lone Tree’s boys team had three runners compete in North English’s course with the other two Lions being junior Taylor Alberhasky and senior Joey Birtcher.

Alberhasky wrapped up the run with a time of 20:06.15 to give himself a placement of 28th and Birtcher placed 49th with a final time of 22:29.78. 

Boys Results

1. Brady McWhirter, Pekin, 15:46

9. Micah Gerber, Hillcrest, 17:44

11. Jesse Blossom, Hillcrest, 18:08

14. Brock Thomann, Highland, 18:33

16. Brock Nebergal, Lone Tree, 18:38

23. Isaac Beachy, Hillcrest, 19:33

28. Taylor Alberhasky, Lone Tree, 20:06

35. Chase Hickenbottom, Highland, 21:00

39. Braden Hartsock, Hillcrest, 21:37

41. Jack Krotz, Highland, 21:48

44. Brayden Zywiec, Highland, 21:57

47. Jacob Schneider, Highland, 22:19

49. Joey Birtcher, Lone Tree, 22:29

50. Kyle Neuschwander, Hillcrest, 22:32

52. Issac Giesmann, Highland, 22:37

53. Jeremiah Danker, Hillcrest, 22:38

58. Jackson Schneider, Highland, 23:40

63. Spencer Thompkin, Highland, 27:05

64. Jackson Robinson, Highland, 27:05

Girls Results

1. Chloe Glosser, Pekin, 18:12

2. Marie Yoder, Hillcrest, 19:18

10. Siena Stanerson, Highland, 21:42

12. Vivian Zaruba, Lone Tree, 21:58

13. Erika Thomann, Highland, 22:19

25. Delaney Shaw, Hillcrest, 23:58

26. Jazmine Nino, Lone Tree, 24:09

31. Brynna O’Rourke, Hillcrest, 25:35

40. Halle Hazelett, Highland, 26:27