By Lenny Sementi
Freshman don’t usually reside in the number one spot for high school cross country teams but Josiah Hortin is not your normal first year runner. Hortin starred in the distance races in junior high and the trip across the street from East Prairie to TCHS didn’t change anything. Hortin advanced to the final weekend of the COVID shortened IHSA postseason competing at the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional and like he has many times this season he shined.
Coach Mike Rosenbaum’s star pupil finished 13th overall out of 120 runners representing 25 schools at the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional, the toughest 1A sectional in the state. Hortin crossed the line in 16 minutes and 31 seconds and was the second freshman to cross the line ending up .7 seconds behind St Joe Ogden’s freshman Carson Maroon. The two newcomers were in different flights so Hortin didn’t have the opportunity to battle with the Spartan at the finish line as both clocked it at 16:31. Hortin will without a doubt have more opportunities to go head to head with him. The duo should square off more than a few times over the next three seasons.
Hortin earned his way to the final weekend advancing out of the Decatur St. Teresa Regional also ran at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth. That was no easy task as 11 of the top 15 runners and four of the top five teams all came out of that regional. He erased seven seconds from the prior week posting the second best time of his career. That effort any other year would have secured a spot at the State Championships. He would have joined Robert Hanners as one of only two Warrior freshmen advancing to state meet in school history.
“We were very pleased with Josiah’s race on Saturday and felt that this was Josiah’s smartest race of the year from start to finish,” stated the coach. “At the beginning, he did his part to get out ahead of the group, and settled into the second pack for the first two miles. At the two mile mark is when he found another gear and he was able to gain about five places over the course of that last mile. In a normal year, he qualifies for the state meet, which I know was his goal going into the meet.”
Hortin will have one more chance to compete but it will be at a club event outside of the IHSA postseason arena. He collected one of 20 individual invitations in Division 1 (Class 1A runners) at the ShaZam Racing Championships, an unofficial state meet this Friday, November 6 in Chillicothe. The race will include 14 ranked division 1 teams, including the top ranked Four City Striders from Arthur, Atwood, Hammond and Lovington and 20 ranked individuals not included on those teams.