Shawnee Dispatch

Maranatha's Heller has strong final race, leads Eagles to fourth-place finish in 2A

November 3, 2010

For Maranatha Academy senior Mitch Heller, the 2010 Class 2A cross country state meet provided the stage for a heck of a swan song.

With a time of 17 minutes, 56.45 seconds, Heller not only earned a medal for his 15th-place finish in the five-kilometer race at Wamego Country Club, he also helped power the Eagle boys to a fourth-place team finish out of 12 squads.

“Mitch really gave all he had,” Maranatha coach Bianca Williams said of her senior’s performance. “It was a nice way for him to go out. I though he did really well.”

Heller’s performance highlighted a day in which two of his Maranatha teammates also finished in the top half of the 99-runner field. Sophomore Luke Miller earned 39th place with a time of 19:03.59, while junior Ian Bower grabbed 45th at 19:13.89.

On the girls’ side, the Eagles earned eighth place out of 10 full teams at the meet. Junior Anna Hoduski was Maranatha’s top female finisher with a 52nd-place time of 18:20.28 in the four-kilometer race.

“I knew there would be some really tough teams out there,” Williams said of the girls’ field, “and the girls finished right about where we expected them to. But we’re definitely happy with our accomplishments this season.”

Though neither Maranatha squad could make it on to the awards podium by the end of the day, Williams and the rest of her athletes found no lack of things to celebrate. In fact, Williams noted the youth of this years’ team would more than likely point to success in years to come.

“All of our runners return with the exception of Mitch,” she said. “They’ll all return, and we’re ready to start building again. They’re such a great bunch to coach.”

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