Six Hillsboro track and field athletes will be heading to state this weekend to compete in a total of nine events as a result of their efforts Friday at the Class 3A regional in Marion.
For the boys, Shaq Thiessen’s efforts in both the long jump and high jump will rewrite the school-record book.
Thiessen bettered the school record he set earlier this season in the long jump by soaring 23 feet, 71⁄4 inches, beating his previous best of 23-5 and claiming the gold medal.
Prior to that, Thiessen cleared 6-6 in the high jump, tying the record set by Darrin Hiebert in 1993 and matched by Eric Driggers in 1997. The height was good for second place.
“They moved the high jump to the first competition since there were only six jumpers, and I knew that would be a good situation for Shaq to get his high jump done first before he moved over to the long jump,” coach Dennis Boldt said.
Tyler Proffitt became a regional champion when he cleared 14 feet even in the pole vault, well ahead of his closest competitor at 11-6.
“Although he won the competition by a large margin today, winning in this event is not simply enough for Tyler,” Boldt said. “He wants to be consistently above 14 feet as he enters state competition on Friday.”
Two other Trojans also punched their ticket to Wichita with top-four performances. Josh Richert placed second in the 1,600 meters in 4:41.58 and Avery Franz placed fourth in the triple jump at 41-11.
“Josh Richert is a hard worker, he loves to run and he was determined to qualify in an individual event this season,” Boldt said. “His 1,600-meter run today was a fun race to watch. He has developed the ability to know his competition and adjust his race.”
Boldt said Franz has been consistent all season, but has the potential for a longer mark.
“I know he is looking to just break out in the triple,” Boldt said. “He had a good day today and is well deserving of jumping at Wichita. I look for him to have his best day, weather permitting, now that he will concentrate on the triple.”
Two Trojan girls will be competing for state honors this weekend.
Emily Sechrist will defend her state title in the 3,200 after winning at Marion in a time of 12:06.83, nearly 10 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
The sophomore also will compete in the 1,600 and the 800 after finishing second (5:25.21) and third (2:30.95), respectively.
“In order to get qualified for state, you have to run them not only on the same day, but in a different order than the actual state competition,” Boldt said. “To put it simply, regional meets are not very fair to distance runners trying to qualify for the 800.
“In the past you might have seen 1,600-meter runners trying to double, but it is really difficult to qualify in all three. Having said that, once you do qualify, the state meet schedule is quite favorable for Emily since her best event is the 3,200, which she can run on Friday, then she will get to rest and come back on Saturday and run the 1,600 and then the 800.
“She is an incredible talent, and couples this with a desire to be successful.”
Marah Franz qualified for state in the pole vault in her freshman season by clearing a personal-best 9-6 to finish fourth.
“Marah had a breakout day in the pole vault at the league meet when she won the competition and set a new league record (8-6),” Boldt said. “She just continues to improve and is peaking at just the right time.”
Hillsboro just missed having additional entries at state by placing fifth. Richert’s time of 2:04.08 in the 800 was only 0.66 seconds off the fourth-place time. Franz was 0.84 seconds from qualifying in the 400 at 52.99.
The boys’ 4×400 team of Micah Mashburn, Proffitt, Richert and Franz was about 3.5 seconds behind the fourth-place team with a time of 3:38.53.
For the girls, Heather Mayfield tied for the fourth-best height in high jump, but placed fifth based on misses.
“I told the athletes that if you set your sights for the top four and fall short, you will undoubtedly find yourself with your best effort of the season because our regional is tough,” Boldt said.
“We embrace that and take pride that there is no easy road to Wichita in our area because of such great athletes.”
Coming—Classes 1A, 2A and 3A will have the early session at the state meet on Friday. Tyler Proffitt will be the first Trojan to compete when pole vault begins at 8 a.m.
Emily Sechrist will run her 3,200 at about 8:25 a.m. Shaq Thiessen will compete in high jump at 9:45 a.m.and Avery Franz in the triple jump at 1:15 p.m.
On Saturday, Marah Franz will pole vault at 11:30 a.m., Sechrist will run the 1,600 at 1:20 p.m. and Richert will run his right afterward.