First place did not end up with the Highland girls cross country team but the Bulldogs harriers still managed a top-four finish and on top of that a trip to the Class A state meet.
Highland turned in a strong third-place finish Saturday at the ISHA Class 2A Decatur sectional meet at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Forsyth.
As a result, the Bulldogs are heading to the state meet for the first time since 2015.
“One of the incredible things that has happened with this team is the girls see each other and say “ I ran with her in junior high, so I’ll run with her in high school’ and it’s that type of attitude that has led to high expectations for them,” Highland coach Doug Bradley said.
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Highland finished behind Chatham-Glenwood (43) and Waterloo (93) with 107 points.
Sophomores Jessica Borror (10th place), Grace Meyer (18th place), and junior Samantha Hengehold were the top three finishers for Highland on the day.
Borror’s 10th place finish with a time of 19:12 was a huge early boost to the Bulldogs chances.
“Jessica came in 10th place overall and she really competed well (for us), Bradley said.
Bradley said that Borror, Meyer, and Hengehold did an outstanding job of putting the team in position to make the state cut as a team.
‘We’re really happy with the way they competed and they knew where they needed to be to get us to the next level and they just went out and did what they were asked to do,” Bradley said.
Senior Kate Marti finished in 28th place (19:47), sophomore Julia Loeh was 34th (20:03), freshman Britin Machuca came in 55th (20:30), and freshman Danielle Little finished out the Bulldogs lineup in 111th place (22:25).
As the Bulldogs head to state next Saturday morning, they have a few goals they would like to achieve next weekend.
“We feel like could compete (Chatham-Glenwood) better than we did today,” Bradley said. “If we make that a goal of our and hopefully get close to them in a meet we might be able to compete better. We would like to see all of our top six (girls) in the 18-minute territory and we’d like to go for a top 10 finish.”
In the boys division. junior Nick Hanratty started solidly but saw his season end in the Clasa 2A sectional. Hanratty did not quite get the top 20 finished that he hoped for but was still competitive as he finished at 55th overall in the race.
“It wasn’t his day and he was pretty disappointed and I understand why,” Bradley said. “Some days you have it and some days you don’t.”