Sussex Hamilton cross-country runners Rachel Jeffers, Michael Swope and Evan Selin took part in the state meet Oct. 29 in Wisconsin Rapids and came away with great showings.
Swope, a junior in his second state race, was 40th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 36.52 seconds. Sophomore Evan Selin, in his first trip to state, finished 45th in 16:39.39. The two typically run together during races, and state was no different.
"(Selin) basically hung on to Michael that whole race and did not let go," Hamilton coach Stephen Schmidt said. "It was just unbelievable. Then we looked, and there were 22 seniors and I think 11 juniors ahead of him. He was 45th, and if you subtract 22 and 11, he's getting into legitimate elite status as a sophomore. Michael had a huge drop, and Evan is becoming a truly elite sophomore now."
Jeffers, a senior, improved on her 31st-place finish last season at state with a 19th-place finish in 2016 with a time of 19:16.92.
"You could definitely see that experience she gained from last year," Schmidt said. "She knew what she was doing going into the race. It really played a factor in how she raced. She got a little more aggressive but not overly aggressive. She was able to shift forward through the field in that last about thousand meters of the race. It's very difficult at state. It's a very hilly course deep in the race so you have to be cautious so you don't run out of gas when you're going up those last couple hills. You have to have perfect timing of where she didn't run out of gas, but she didn't have left, either, at the end. She was pretty wiped out. She ran fantastic."
The boys team will have all of its top runners returning, and the girls lose just Jeffers. Schmidt complimented Jeffers for helping build the HHS cross-country program.
"She's meant a ton to the program," Schmidt said. "She's a vocal leader, but more, she takes care of business. Every day in practice, there's no messing around. She just gets out there, works hard, sets really high goals and goes after them. The other kids pick up on that and see this is how we operate."