Trojan runners lead team to second-place finish at state
With a second-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay Saturday, the Hillsboro High School boys' track and field team came home with a runner-up plaque.
"What a day for our boys' team," head coach Dennis Boldt said. "When it became apparent we were running for a top-three finish, they stepped it up and took control of their destiny."
Every athlete who qualified for state, including Chelsea Bebermeyer and Dakota Kaufman of the girls' squad, left with a medal. The boys took second place without having anyone compete in field events.
The girls were 21st with 15 points.
"My coaching staff again did a tremendous job, and the success of this team is a direct reflection of our athletes' talent and their tremendous coaching," Boldt said.
Sophomore Dakota Kaufman has carried the girls' team, along with senior Chelsea Bebermeyer, all season. She routinely finished in the top three in the long and triple jumps during the season, and the state meet was no different.
Kaufman started the weekend in her strongest event, the triple jump.
"Triple is her primary event and competing in it first gave her the opportunity to focus on what she does best," Boldt said.
Kaufman, who has battled with rival sophomore Julia Zeiner all year in both the triple and long jump, bested the Marion High School athlete by taking second place in the triple.
Her best jump of 36 feet, 11 inches, was enough to finish four and one half feet ahead of Zeiner who finished third. It also set a personal and school record.
She picked up another medal in the long jump, leaping 16-3.50 to take fifth place, two spots behind Zeiner.
"We are excited about her finishes and know that as she continues to develop, she will have the opportunity to return to state and better her performances," Boldt said.
As a senior Chelsea Bebermeyer knew this past weekend was her final chance to shine on high school's biggest stage. She did just that, as she has all season, taking fourth place in the discus with a top throw of 118-4.
She also qualified in the shot put, and was in a loaded class which included four-time state champion Jacquelyne Leffler of Northern Heights. Bebermeyer took 13th with a throw of 32-10.
"She is one of our senior leaders," Boldt said. "She had a good day in discus, and I know she was a little disappointed in her performance in the shot put."
After stellar careers in both football and wrestling, senior Jacob Yoder didn't have to do anything at the state meet to prove he is a great athlete — but he still did.
Yoder brought home medals in all four events he competed in, which included two individual and three relay events.
He took fifth in the 100-meter dash, second in the 200m dash, and second in the 4x100 and 4x400m relay events.
What impressed Boldt the most about Yoder was the way he bounced back in the 200, after barely qualifying for the finals.
After a rocky start in the prelims, Yoder finished in 23.35 seconds to secure the eighth and final spot in the finals.
He ran 23.60 during a windy finals race, and was .33 seconds behind champion Abraham Noll of Jefferson County North.
"You could see the determination in the guy's eyes as he approached the 200 and 4x400 relay. He literally exploded down the back stretch to score second place," Boldt said. "He qualified eighth and was determined to better his performance."
Junior Ishmael Morris had a chance to bring home three medals for the state meet, and just missed by finishing 10th in the 200m dash prelims. He was .20 seconds behind the eighth-place Yoder.
But Morris was determined to come home with some hardware, and the relay events allowed him to do so. He competed in the 4x100 and 4x400 events, bringing home two silver medals.
"Ishmael has been tremendous for us all season, and [the relays] helped erased his disappointment not qualifying in the 200," Boldt said. "He did a great job and we look forward to him leading our sprinters next season."
Senior Cody McMillen's performances at the 2008 state track and field meet will help his name go down in the school's record book.
He came home with four silver medals and his most impressive performance according to Boldt was his effort in the 3200m relay. His time of nine minutes, 51.73 seconds set a school record as he became the first Trojan to finish the two-mile in less than 10 minutes.
He took second again in the 1600m run, both times finishing behind Trace Kendrick of Scott City. His final medals came in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
"Cody is such a smart runner. He studies his competition and watches for their tendencies in order to know how quickly to get out, when to challenge, and when to try to pull away," Boldt said. "He, and the rest of this group are so deserving of their success this season."
Sophomore Nathan Vogel, who began competing in the 400m dash halfway through the season, proved Boldt made the right decision by taking fourth place at the state meet. His time of 52.07 seconds qualified him fourth, and it played out the same way in the finals after he finished in 52.59 seconds.
Vogel also helped add to his medal collection by taking second as one leg of the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Grant Schneider wasn't going to let his senior season end without a medal from state.
After finishing 13th in the 110m hurdles, Schneider earned a silver medal with the 4x100 team.
Nicholas Mueller was one-for-one at the state meet, capturing a medal in his only event. The junior ran the first leg of the 4x800m relay, and set the tone for a second-place finish.
Mueller missed qualifying in the 3200m relay by one place at regionals.
Spencer Brown started his senior sports season with a strong performance at quarterback for the Trojan football team. An injury during the final regular season game caused him to miss much of the basketball season, but Brown bounced back in track with two state medals.
As the third leg of the 4x100 team, Brown earned silver with Morris, Schneider, and Yoder. He then gave McMillen a rest in the 4x400 prelims so he would be fresh for the two-mile.
After Brown helped HHS to a first-place finish in the prelims, McMillen and company took second in the finals.
Matthew Klenda followed suit with his classmate Mueller by taking advantage of his only opportunity at the state meet.
Competing in the 4x800, Klenda ran the second leg of the relay and came home with a silver medal.