Twenty-two Class 3, 4, and 5 schools made it to Jefferson County to compete at the Hillsboro Invitational, Friday, May 6. With conference meets already in the books for these schools, the Hillsboro Invitational provided one last meet for some athletes and a final tune-up for others before district meets.
While Sikeston, Dexter, and Poplar Bluff all made drives over 2-hours, they didn't earn the gold for the longest trip. East Newton coach Jake Holt took a handful of his boys to Hillsboro from Granby, in southwest Missouri, a 269-mile, four-hour drive. It was worth it as the Patriots were successful in the final regular season meet for coach Holt before he moves on to the college ranks where he has started the new junior college program at Crowder College this summer. Holt, previously an East Newton assistant coach for former head coach Kern Sorrell (a one-time MO.MileSplit editor), has been successful coaching the Sorrell children, and it was more of the same in Hillsboro.
The East Newton boys rolled to the fastest time in Class 3 in winning the 4x800 in 8:06.81. Leading the way for the Patriots were two Sorrells. Chase Sorrell, a sophomore who earned all-state honors in the fall with a 13th-place Class 3 state finish, has personal records (PR) of 2:01 and 10:09 for the 800 and 3200-meters. His most impressive performance is a 4:20.26 1600-meters, which puts him 5th in Class 3 and 20th in the state.
a senior, has state cross country finishes of 27th, 11th,
28th, and 10th and was runner-up in the Class 3 800-meters
at the state meet last year. Sorrell was aiming for the school record in the
800-meters and with Festus' Jacob Meyers in the field, it seemed possible. Hillsboro,
with a talented set of brothers of their own in twins Josh Allison and Jonah Allison,
were second in the 4x800 in 8:11, a half-second ahead of Jackson High School.
In the girls 1600-meters, Notre Dame-Cape Girardeau (CG) sophomore Lauren Eftink led most of the way with Dexter senior Gabrielle Brown on her shoulder. Just before the bell, Brown moved up along side Eftink and past her enroute to winning in 5:27 while Eftink held on for 2nd in 5:29. Jackson High School senior Maite Mendez Higuera was 3rd in 5:32 and Herculaneum junior Raven Vance 4th in 5:36.
In the boys 1600-meteer run, a talented field toed the line in the second section. Barreling down the homestretch just before the halfway point was a pack of seven, DeSoto senior William Kaempfe had a full stride on the group, with Festus' Ian Schram, Hillsboro's Josh Allison, Windsor's Bradley Ahrens, Central-Cape Girardeau's (CG) Ryan Seabaugh, East Newton's Chase Sorrell, and Jackson's Cole Puls all trailing. A lap later Allison had a half-meter lead on Schram as the pair had overtaken Kaempfe.
Hillsboro junior Josh Allison ran to victory in the 1600-meters in 4:23.29 for a MO#34 and Class 4 #5 fastest time in the event.
The pace picked up and as they hit the homestretch it was all Allison. Allison pumped his arms down the homestretch to earn the win by more than a second in 4:23.29. Kaempfe got by Schram in the final 40-meters to take 2nd in 4:24.68 while Schram crossed the finish in 4:25.16. Central-CG junior Ryan Seabaugh had a strong final lap to move from 6th to 4th to earn a nearly-5 second PR. Chase Sorrell was 5th in 4:29 while Windsor's Bradley Ahrens was 6th in 4:30 and Jackson's Cole Puls 7th in 4:31. The top-4 finishers all moved into the top-42 on the season's state performance list with their times, all running season bests while Allison and Seabaugh set personal records.