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Trojans' quartet excels at state track meet

Shaw sets state meet record for 10th place boys, girls 19th

Staff writer

It’s safe to say that the Hillsboro track and field team’s throwing events are in good hands with junior Wes Shaw and freshman Jessica Saunders.

But two others gave the Trojans a huge boost with a solid farewell performance at the state meet in Wichita by senior Sienna Kaufman and junior long jumper Josiah Driggers.

Paced by first- and second-place finishes by Shaw in shot put and discus and Driggers’ sixth-place long jump, the Trojan boys finished 10th out 49 schools with 21 points.

The girls’ 16 points made for 19th out of 46 schools.

For Abby Sechrist, the state meet marked the end of her high school career with a 10th place time of 5:47.20 in the 1600.

With no chance left at a medal after a 13th-place finish in long jump, Kaufman still had a chance in pole vault.

And she did it, clearing 10-feet to finish runner-up to Smith Center sophomore Bree Frieling.

Saunders led the way for the girls’ team with a sixth-place medal in shot put and fourth in discus.

“Jessica did an outstanding job,” Trojan coach Dennis Boldt said. “One of the toughest things to do as a freshman is enter state competition for the first time and still throw well.

“It doesn’t matter how many meets you’ve been in, the championships here in Kansas is the biggest state championship meet and it’s a challenge to get warmed up and try to relax in the time frame given. She did a tremendous job.”

With four freshmen competing in discus and two in shot, Saunders will likely meet Plainville runner-up Brooklyn Staab as well as Kiowa County sophomore champion Sabrina Thomas and Jackson Heights sophomore Grace Roles again.

Saunders’ fourth-place throw of 116’2” was just 14 inches shorter than Staab’s.

Of the two freshmen in shot put, Saunders posted the better throw with a 35’11¼” heave.

Much like the discus field, Saunders could see four of the five finishers again in shot put.

Shot put can’t be mentioned in Hillsboro without Shaw’s name being included in the conversation.

For the first time since Gene Lanning won a discus title 30 years ago, the boys finally captured a throwing title.

Shaw not only breezed through the competition, but also set a Class 2A state meet record with a 60’11¾” throw.

The record wasn’t easy to get, though, as Shaw was flagged with two fouls on his first attempts, leaving him with one throw to make the final group.

That was all it took, vaulting the hulking junior into the lead. His second throw of the finals did the trick, wiping out the old 59’10¼” record.

Much as it was most of the season throughout all the state’s classes, few could stick with Shaw, with South Gray two-time 1A champion Gilbert Peters’ best falling nearly three feet shorter.

“Wes had an incredible accomplishment this weekend,” Boldt said. “It’s even more impressive when you think about his throw not only being a state record, but the best throw in all classes.

“Wes is highly motivated and goal oriented, and the 60-foot mark has been on his radar all season. Once he eclipsed that mark, he didn’t relax. He reset his goals and moved on to state championships and records. We’re extremely proud of him and congratulate him on his accomplishments.”

A final showdown with Marion foe and defending discus champion Tyler Palic still awaited, however.

Shaw edged Palic a week earlier at the Valley Heights’ regional.

The final battle was a memorable one, with Palic retaining his title with a meet record throw of 182’6”, Shaw not far behind in second at 178’1”.

Nobody was even close to the two. Solomon’s third-place finisher, Jobe Fowles was nearly 25 feet behind.

Outside Class 4A champion, LeeRoi Johnson of Tonganoxie, and Winfield runner-up Matt Everett, no competitor in any class topped Palic or Shaw.

Like Shaw, fellow junior Driggers has one more year left, and in long jump, four-fifths of the top five finishers are gone.

Qualifying for state with a second-place leap of 20’8¼”, Driggers dropped off 1¼” to 20’7 ½”.

It still earned Driggers a sixth-place finish, leaving KC Marantha’s third-place finisher, Jax Holland, perhaps Driggers’ biggest threat next year.

Last modified May 30, 2018

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