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Led by Hill, Lady Indians win in Class 1 cross country

Miranda Hill of Russellville runs on her way to capturing the state cross country title in the Missouri Class 1 girls event Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

Miranda Hill of Russellville runs on her way to capturing the state cross country title in the Missouri Class 1 girls event Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The Russellville Lady Indians are entering dynasty territory.

Miranda Hill captured first-place individual honors to lead Russellville to its third Missouri Class 1 cross country title in four years Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

Russellville’s 66 points easily bested Lutheran: Kansas City’s 120, Salisbury’s 123 and Crystal City’s 134.

“It’s amazing, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Hill said of yet another team title.

Added Russellville coach Craig Miller: “It’s been outstanding. I can’t put it into words what they’ve done the past four years, the hard work they’ve put in.”

After taking home the team title in 2010 and 2011, the Lady Indians fell just short in 2012 with a second-place finish behind Salisbury. That was all the motivation they needed heading into 2013.

“Every single one of us were dead-set on getting back that first-place title,” Hill said. “We were all motivated and very excited.”

Hill took home her first individual state championship with a time of 20:15.95, beating out Oak Ridge’s McKenzie Elam (20:25.43) and Russellville teammate Grace Young (20:37.03).

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” Hill said, following fourth-, seventh- and fifth-place finishes the past three years. “My first year, it was what I wanted to do and I could never do it. This year, just following the (vehicle that leads the pack) was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I never imagined it would happen.”

The victory marked a triumphant finish to a trying year for Hill. After missing a month earlier in the season due to low iron levels and later burdened with a heart monitor, Hill battled through adversity to become an individual and team champion.

“My iron level was at seven, and for a runner it should be at least 60,” she said. “I had an (iron) infusion and was taking iron pills, and I got that up. It’s better now. ... Just coming here and running that is amazing.”

Young and her twin sister, Taylor, both starred with all-state (top-25) finishes.

“It was all right, I wanted to be first,” Grace Young said. “It wasn’t my day.”

Added Miller: “Grace put in a lot of work. She ran a great time, I’m so pleased, so happy for her.”

Taylor Young took 23rd in 21:41.71.

“Last year she had an off race,” Miller said. “She came back this year true to form. She was determined.”

Erica Miller was Russellville’s fourth finisher, taking 38th with a time of 22:38.06.

Hannah Michitsch rounded out the scoring for Russellville with a 52nd-place finish in 23:11.19.

“She battled through, wasn’t feeling good today,” Miller said. “She battled through and finished fifth for us. You’re only as good as your fifth runner.”

And that’s pretty darn good. That state championship trophy proves it.

Addie Kirchner (72nd, 23:47.30) and Hannah Matthews (147th, 26:24.63) completed Russellville’s team.

“It’s amazing,” Grace Young said. “Three out of four years is pretty awesome. We really worked for it.”

Two other area runners earned all-state honors with their finishes in the race.

Chamois sophomore Autumn Baker placed seventh with a time of 21:04.40 to earn all-state distinction for the second consecutive season, while Linn freshman Harley Nale earned all-state honors with a 14th-place finish (21:24.00).

Also competing in the race were New Bloomfield’s Sydni Bedsworth (106th, 24:39.77) and Vienna’s Abbi Kern (114th, 24:51.12).

Accompanying photo:

Miranda Hill of Russellville runs

See also:

Cross Country: Class 1-4 state championship results

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