By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s cross country team made an early season statement with a strong showing this past Thursday, August 27 at Judah Christian High School’s Field of Dreams on the west side of Champaign. Newcomer Josiah Hortin set the tone for the Warriors in the boys race while elder statesman Brynn Tabeling was tops for the black and gold in the girls skirmish in the quadrangular meet involving state ranked Monticello and Urbana University High as well as the host Tribe.
The freshman Hortin shined in the first three mile race of the season taking third overall eclipsing the three mile course in a personal best 18 minutes and 17 seconds. Coach Mike Rosenbaum’s group utilized a pack mentality following up Hortin’s strong finish with a fourth place finish from junior Logan Wallace who crossed the line in 18:43. Jackson Barrett another freshman and Riley Nolan were next up capturing fifth and sixth place finishing one tick of the clock apart at 19:10 and 19:11 respectively. Yet another young talent and first year runner Will Foltz ended his day in the top ten as well taking eighth posting a personal best time of 20:15 to round out the scoring helping the Warriors upending a very good Uni squad by 15 points to take first place in the four team event.
First year sophomore Mason Veach was Tuscola’s first alternate checking just outside the top ten in eleventh with a PR of 20:29. Senior Aiden Beachy was the second alternate, breaking the tape in fourteenth. Clayton Hausmann and Ben Hornaday both football transplants choosing to run with the pigskin season moved to the spring both set PR’s as well in the open run ending their day in eighteenth and twenty first.
The girl’s race was dominated by perennial power Uni High as the Illineks captured the top eight spots. Tabeling and fellow senior Laney Cummings were next in to cross the finish line taking ninth and tenth overall both out legging a Monticello runner down the final stretch placing a pair in the top ten. Another fourth year runner enjoyed a top fifteen finish helping the Warriors secure second place as a team and also shared the stage with her younger brother. Hannah Hornaday talked Ben into going out after football was moved to the spring making good memories out of a tough situation.
“For Ben and Hannah to be able to be on the same team I’m sure is special,” the coach said. “They’ve always seemed pretty tight, and I know they’re super supportive of each other. Being able to be on the same team for Hannah’s senior year, despite the circumstances, has been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing each of them blossom as the year progresses.”
Sophomore Reggan Smith was the fourth scorer taking seventeenth and Makenzie Herschberger the fifth and final ending up in twenty-first. Skylar Wilkins, Kenzi Heckler, and Kyla Gough both toured the course as alternates.
“The boys sort of made a statement with their performance, as all but three of them had never ran a three mile race prior to today,” stated coach Rosenbaum. “I was super proud of how we competed against the other teams and against each other to earn a win. For the girls, I thought it was a good foundation for the year, as many of my returning girls ran faster at this meet than their first meet a year ago.