It’s official: Hunter Yoder is now on the hunt.
The Hiland junior runner continued to blaze new trails in Hiland cross country, this time performing well at the Cambridge Cross Country Invite Saturday, Oct. 2.
Yoder remained in contact with the lead pack of runners for much of the race, eventually finishing fifth in a time of 18:21.41. His time was just four seconds away from a bronze medal performance, while Zack Henry of Harrison Central won the event with a time of 17:19.53. Newcomerstown’s Mason Walkup and Jacob Robinson placed fourth and sixth, sandwiching Yoder, with Walkup edging Yoder at the line by less than two seconds.
“Hunter continues to move up and get better each time out,” said Hiland coach Mark Fowler. “It has been fun to see him mature as a runner. He is definitely in the hunt now. He is starting to attack and run with a hunger rather than hoping to just hang on for a decent place.”
Yoder has been chasing a trio of Newcomerstown Trojans, all of whom have run well in the Inter-Valley Conference this season. As he continues to close the gap, he marched past two of them at Cambridge, and has vowed to knock off all three by the time the IVC meet rolls around Oct. 17
“That Newcomerstown group has always been right there at the front of the pack in the IVC, and Hunter is determined to run right there with them,” said Fowler.
At Cambridge, Alex Ventura placed 51st for Hiland, running in a time of 21:02.73. Lorin Hershberger placed 53rd in 21:04.68. Alijah Chupp was 64th in a time of 21:53.46.
On the girls’ side, Melissa Hostetler continued to creep up the ranks among local runners, placing eighth in the field of 73 runners competing in the High School Small Girls field.
“She did that well and she had been sick three days leading up to that race, so she wasn’t really even in top shape,” said Fowler of Hostetler.
Teammate Brooke Miller also had a great showing, placing 23rd in a time of 24:35.45. Emily Troyer ran 51st overall for the Lady Hawks in a time of 26:58.58.
With another top runner, senior Julee Zinck, currently on the mend, and with two more girls running who have not run yet this season, Fowler said the girls are looking to compete for a possible third-place finish in the IVC meet from the team perspective.
“It will be fun for them to have enough girls to actually compete as a team,” said Fowler. “We know Garaway and Sandy Valley are going to be out of reach, but we could actually compete for a third-place spot if we run well.”