Thiessen, Serene place second
Hillsboro High School freshman distance runner Emily Sechrist won her second state championship of the school year.
The 3A cross-country champion, Sechrist bested familiar foe Heather Ruder of Hays-Thomas More Prep in the 3,200-meter run Saturday at the state track meet in Wichita.
“She came in knowing that in order to win she would have to beat the two-time defending champion,” head coach Dennis Boldt said. “To her credit, she focused on her race rather than dwelling on who she needed to beat.”
Boldt said Sechrist trailed Ruder through the early part of the race but closed the gap during the fourth lap of the eight-lap race and began to challenge by lap six. She ran a time of 11 minutes, 43.36 seconds, nearly three seconds faster than Ruder.
“Emily has a great kick and once she had the lead I knew she would never relinquish it,” Boldt said.
Sechrist also placed third in the 1,600 with a time of 5:24.17. She was less than a second behind Leah Murata of Horton.
“I know the competitor in her showed some disappointment in a third-place finish, but that is why she competes at a high level; she doesn’t want to settle for anything other than championship,” Boldt said. “I didn’t let her hold that disappointment for long; she realizes what an accomplishment placing in two events in her freshman year really is.”
Teammate Callie Serene placed second in the 800 with a time of 2:27.03. The senior just barely held off Mackenzie Dunbar of Riverton, who finished two tenths of a second behind in third.
“Callie waited nearly a day and half for her event,” Boldt said. “She got out well in the 800, challenging the defending champion. She has ran well all year, and finishes a stellar career, not only as a track athlete but as a three-sport standout this season.”
Sechrist and Serene combined for 26 points scored which was good enough to allow Hillsboro to tie for seventh.
The Hillsboro boys placed 15th with 15 points.
Junior Shaq Thiessen finished second in the long jump with a distance of 22 feet, 5.25 inches. The winning jump by Tylor Albright of Galena was 22-9.25.
“Every athlete likes to start their competition with a good jump, and Shaq is no exception,” Boldt said. “He finished his competition with four 22-foot or better jumps. This was definitely his best day.”
Mitchell Day placed fourth in the 100. He ran a time of 11.03. The top three runners all completed the distance in less than 11 seconds.
Tyler Proffitt placed fifth in the pole vault with a leap of 13-6. He set a new personal best by a foot and was only a jump away from placing fourth.
“Simply put, he came to compete,” Boldt said. “The dedication to his event has paid huge dividends. He found himself in one of the best state competitions I can remember in recent years. Having the top 10 vaulters clearing 13 feet is an unusual event, and it took an extraordinary effort and focus to come out as one of the state’s top vaulters.”
800: 13. Bret Mueller, 2:08.12.
4x400: 16. Avery Franz, Jesse Brown, Josh Richert, Mueller, 3:43.76.
4x800: 8. Richert, Grant Knoll, Franz, Mueller, 8:49.75.
High jump: 8. Brown, 6-0.