Girls will send three to state meet
Hillsboro High School track and field coach Dennis Boldt wasn’t kidding when he said every point counted.
The Trojan boys scored 73 points Friday at the Marion regional, edging out Hutchinson Trinity with 72 points and Marion with 71.
Hillsboro used two first-place finishes and eight other medals to secure the victory.
John Hein earned gold in the shot put with a throw of 50 feet, 5.25 inches and the 4x400-meter relay team of Matthew Klenda, Ishmael Morris, Nicholas Mueller, and David Ratzloff also took first.
Boldt said Hein’s victory, along with a second-place shot put finish from Michael Klaassen, were key to the championship.
“Without a doubt what set the tone, and put us in a position to win, was the shot put competition with John and Michael finishing 1-2,” Boldt said. “These guys are much improved over the past season. I can’t say enough about how great a job (assistant) Coach Penner has done with the throwers.”
The sprinter weren’t too shabby either.
Ishmael Morris and Nathan Vogel continued to impress in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes.
Morris took second in all three, while Vogel finished third in the 400.
Both will compete at the state meet Friday and Saturday.
The distance runners also turned in strong performances.
Along with the gold in the 4x400, Trojans Michael Christian, Klenda, Mueller, and Ratzloff took second in the 4x800.
Boldt said his team has sacrificed first- and second-place plaques in the past in order to qualify more athletes for the state meet.
He said the 4x800 team coasted to second place to conserve energy for later this week.
Also, Mueller did not run the 3200 so he could be ready for the 4x400, and it paid off.
“This is why the regional championship (was) such a pleasant surprise when the scores were announced,” Boldt said.
“Now don’t think these guys didn’t want to win, but the priority was set early. These guys competed and when it came to their last individual events and relays, they put the pedal down and finished strong.”
In a meet where one point claimed the championship, Bolt couldn’t have been more proud of injured senior David Loewen.
Bouncing back from an early-season shoulder injury, Loewen did not qualify for state, but earned a point for his team by taking sixth in the javelin.
“I just think how hard David Loewen worked to come back from shoulder surgery and throw the javelin,” Boldt said when referring to how every point counted. “He had the opportunity to compete in only two meets, this being the second, but his sixth-place finish put the single point on the score that we needed to win.”
In all, nine Trojan boys will compete at state this weekend. A full schedule is available in a separate story on this page.
Two veterans and a newcomer will represent the Hillsboro girls’ team at state this week.
Senior Tiffany Rooker earned a regional pole vault championship, junior Dakota Kaufman will compete in the triple and long jumps, and freshman Callie Serene took second in the 800-meter run to lead the Trojan girls.
“Tiffany had a great day in the pole vault finishing with her best jumps of the season and a regional championship,” Boldt said. “You could just see her relax when she knew she qualified, then to her credit, she stepped up and finished a great competition.”
Rooker also placed in the 400m dash, taking fifth and missing out on state by just one place.
Kaufman also earned her team points in the javelin by taking sixth.
“Dakota continues doing well in the triple jump and long jump, qualifying in both,” Boldt said. “I look for her best efforts in the state championships this coming weekend.”
Serene was a pleasant surprise for Boldt.
“When you talk about being a competitor and having heart, you need to look no further than Callie Serene’s effort and results in the 800 meter,” Boldt said. “We talked early and often about this race and found the girls she needed to be with on the first lap.
“Her drive and competitive nature took over on the final 200 meters. That was all Callie, and what a great result for her finishing second and getting into the state championships her freshman year.”
Senior Heidi Schroeder just missed a trip to state when she took fifth in the triple jump.
Her leap of 32 feet, eight inches was the best of her career.
“She has done a great job and we will miss her greatly,” Boldt said.
Another senior, Shelby Koons, ended her career at regionals.
“I cannot say enough about the year Shelby Koons had as a senior,” Boldt said. “She was a leader by example, and although she (didn’t) qualify this year, (she) leaves with the best results of her career, as well as being a member of the 2007 state championship team.”
The state meet begins at 8 a.m. Friday at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium and concludes Saturday evening.