Written by Don Ratzlaff Wednesday, 23 May 2007 06:37
|Tina Frick, Hannah Marsh and JuliAnne Chisholm (from left) say their friendship has helped them through the good times and hard times during their athletic careers at HHS. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press. Click image to enlarge|
As individuals, they’ve each made an indelible mark on Hillsboro High School athletics over the past four years.
As a unit, though, the impact has been unprecedented.
The cumulative resume of seniors JuliAnne Chisholm, Tina Frick and Hannah Marsh has defined an era of success at HHS that would be hard to match anywhere in the state.
For Chisholm and Frick, two trips to the state volleyball tournament, including a third-place finish this past fall.
This winter, the trio formed the nucleus of a team that found it’s stride in post-season play and blazed a trail of 20-point victories all the way to a Class 3A state championship.
And then there’s track and field: a state championship as sophomores, second-place finishes as freshmen and juniors, with one more shot at thinclad glory this weekend.
In their first three years at the state meet, they’ve brought home 12 gold medals in individual and relay events, two silver medals and three bronze.
Chisholm and Marsh have their names attached to a combined seven school records.
This spring, the threesome became the first female athletes at HHS to sign letters of intent with NCAA Division I schools—Chisholm for volleyball at Kansas State, Frick for volleyball at Wichita State and Marsh for track and field at WSU.
“I would never take anything away from any of the tremendous athletes that have competed in track and field in the past, and there are a few groups that made a tremendous impact on the promotion of this sport as well as achieved great success at the league regional and state level,” said HHS track coach Dennis Boldt. “But none have been in the same grade, and achieved the consistent level of success, that these girls have had in state track competition.”
Even so, this Trojan trio is more than three successful athletes. They are fast friends.
“I think (the bond) may have started out in athletics, but I think it’s gone way beyond that,” Chisholm said.
“It did start out as athletics, but now we’re always together,” added Frick.
That’s been relatively easy for those two; they lived all their lives only a few miles apart in the Durham area. Marsh moved to Hillsboro the summer prior to her eighth-grade year.
But didn’t take them long to establish a link.
“My parents always thought sports was a good way to meet people and get to know people,” Marsh said. “The first thing I did when I got here was go to a basketball camp. That’s where I met these two.
“It’s nice to know that people have a common interest—not only in sports, but in school work and in our faith. I think that’s what’s made it click.”
The bond has been refined in the fire of competition.
“We all know that we’ll always support each other, even if we have an awful day,” Chisholm said.
“Of if we have a great day, we can always look to each other for a hug.”
Friends comfort each other, but also they can push each other in ways not every teammate can.
“The other day at practice, it was tiring,” Frick said. “Hannah came running by me, ‘Come on, keep going.’ Just the encouragement helps a lot.”
The constant encouragement has paid off.
“If we didn’t have each other, none of us would be as good as we are,” Chisholm said. “Like Tina and me in the hurdles, we run against each other every other day.
“If we were at different schools and saw each other only at meets, I don’t think we’d be as fast as we are because we’re training constantly.
“In sprints and everything else, you just push each other that much harder.”
Chisholm and Frick have been running the hurdles together for all four years. Frick doesn’t mind that Chisholm is usually the one who comes out ahead.
Two years ago at regionals, Frick broke Chisholm’s school record in the preliminaries of the 100-meter low hurdles, only to have Chisholm take the record back in the finals.
“I was excited because it was the best time I ever had,” Frick said of her brief hold on the record. “But I kind of knew Juli would get there, too, because it was a fast track and a good day.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” she added. “I just wanted to make it state. That’s all that was really on my mind.”
This year, Chisholm and Frick have again qualified for state in the low and intermediate hurdles, and Chisholm will be pursuing a fourth straight gold medal in the high jump.
Marsh, meanwhile, will be among the favorites in the pole vault and long jump and will run the open 200.
Together they comprise three-fourths of a 4x400 team that will be seeking gold for the fourth straight year.
They realize people have high expectations of them this weekend, both individually and as a team.
“There’s some pressure on us because people think we’re going to win state this year,” Chisholm said. “But Beloit has a really strong team and (Wichita) Independent is still strong. I just don’t know where it’s going to fall.”
Added Frick: “We just need to forget about that and focus on what we need to get done.”
Marsh said she was content simply to compete hard, and then accept the outcome that awaits them.
“Even if I don’t get a PR (personal record), as long as I do what I’m capable of doing—if that wins us a state championship, great. If it gets us third, or if it doesn’t get us anywhere close, I know I still will have contributed what I could.
“I’ll know I left it out there, and even if we get sixth, I wouldn’t be disappointed.”
All three admitted moving to college will, in some ways, impact their friendship as much as their athletic careers.
“I think if I was going out east or something, I think I’d crumble,” Chisholm said. “But I think it will be OK. The fact that we’ll be only two hours away, it won’t be so bad.”
Even though Frick and Marsh will be attending the same school, the connections won’t be quite the same.
“It’s cool that we’re giving each other enough space to work and to grow up—that’s what college is,” Marsh said. “But it’s nice to know that if Juli ever needs to come down, or we need to go up there, I know it will happen.”
In the meantime, the three amigos are savoring the last days of their high school careers.
“I’m glad we’re from Hillsboro,” Chisholm said. “We’ve just had a good experience here. It’s a good community to grow up in. It’s a good atmosphere. It’s been an ideal situaion.”