Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 27 March 2007 16:25“I’m excited as much for the boys as for the girls,” he said. “The boys have been coming along the past few years, and made some noise last year by winning the regional and finishing 10th in the state as a team.”
Even though he lost three state qualifiers from last year’s the squad, including gold-medal pole vaulter David Funk, Boldt likes the way this year’s team covers the events in throwing, jumping and running.
Senior Adam Dirks returns after an 11th-place state finish in the javelin and is adding the discus and shot put to his repertoire this spring.
Fellow senior Tyler Kaufman placed sixth in the triple jump at state while Cody McMillen was sixth in the 3,200 meters as a freshman. Also returning is one of McMillen’s teammates in the state 4x800-meter relay, senior Sean Leihy.
“We’ve also got some real talent in the boys who didn’t qualify for state last year,” Boldt added.
Junior Jacob Yoder is a threat in the javelin, long jump and sprinting.
Senior sprinter Michael Suderman “is getting nothing but stronger and stronger” after a devastating football injury as a freshman. He’ll be joined in the sprints by Ishmael Morris and Michael Tisdale.
Add to the mix junior Spencer Brown, who transferred in this year after being part of a state-qualifying 4x400 team from Minneapolis.
“We’ve got some speed,” Boldt said. “We could have a good 4x400 relay and 4x100 relay.”
Another newcomer, Nathan Vogel, should contribute as a freshman in middle distances, as will junior Johnathan Christian, who scored well in cross country this past fall.
Michael Scheele returns in the shot put and sophomore David Loewen is showing potential in the discus to add depth in the throwing events.
“The boys have a little bit of an advantage in that people aren’t looking for them,” Boldt said. “I consider our boys a pick-up-your-lunch-pail-and-go-to-work-every-day kind of group, and they have fun with it.
“I think they’ll do well. Will they make a run at a big track trophy? I can’t say we’re at that level yet. But I feel strongly that we’re going to get a lot of kids in (at state) and score well in our league and regional.”
Girls will be a force
Barring injury, there’s no question the Trojan girls will be in the hunt for a big trophy at state.
JuliAnne Chisholm will be seeking her fourth consecutive state high-jump gold medal, and last year finished second to Burlington’s Katie Guevel in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles.
Hannah Marsh placed second in the pole vault in a jump-off after tying for the best height, and was fourth in the 200-meter dash and sixth in long jump. The latter event was held late in the day after she had competed in her other events.
Tina Frick, the third member of the Trojan troika, placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and qualified in the 300 meters.
Frick joined Chisholm and Marsh on a 4x400 team that placed second and teamed with then-freshmen Abi Humber, Tiffany Rooker and Shelby Koons on a 4x100 team that finished seventh.
Also returning is senior Chelsea Bebermeyer, who placed fourth as a first-year state qualifier in the discus.
“JuliAnne and Hannah have been scoring points at a high level the past three years, and we look for them to do well this year,” Boldt said. “Tina has joined them the last two years.”
Chisholm may add the triple jump to her list of individual events, Boldt said.
Bolstering this year’s team is junior Carmen Hawkinson, a transfer from Smoky Valley, where she ran a leg on the Vikings’ state-placing 4x100 team.
“We’re excited to have her as a sprinter,” Boldt said. “Not only is she a talent, but I always say a lot of times that you win by numbers (of athletes).”
Boldt is quick to say that while winning a state title may be the logical goal for his team, it takes more than physical talent to capture a title. Good health and good fortune are important, too.
“I think this could be one of the most difficult years,” Boldt said. “Teams are coming back with good athletes. (Defending champion) Wichita Independent will have good athletes and (Guevel) will be back—and she won the 200, too.
“As much as you look toward a state championship, I don’t want this season to be a failure if we don’t win. You’ve got to take one meet at a time.”
Overall, Boldt certainly has the numbers this spring, with 47 athletes out for the team.
“I’m excited about that, as well as the possibility of doing well with both our girls and boys,” Boldt said.
He looks for Smoky Valley and Hesston to be the two other primary contenders at the league meet in Nickerson.
The regionals site is yet to be determined.
One change in the 2007 schedule is that, for the first time, Hillsboro will not be competing at the Marion Relays. Literally half of Boldt’s squad will be attending a youth convention in California for the five days prior to the meet.
“I’m really disappointed we can’t go to a close meet like that, but I think it’s the best for thing for our program,” Boldt said. “The kids have told me they want to compete there, but we risk real injury coming off of five days with no formal practice.”
Boldt’s roster of five assistant coaches will change slightly this spring, with Jim Robb stepping in for Stuart Holmes in pole vault. Returning are Don Penner in throws, Mike Jilka in sprints, Nathan Hiebert in high jump and javelin and Keli Chisholm in triple jump and sprints.
“There will be a day when I will not have such a good coaching staff—I have been so fortunate,” said Boldt, who works with the distance runners.
“Every one of our coaches has experience in track and field—maybe not in their particular event, but five out of six do.”
Hillsboro will open its season April 3 with a five-team home meet with fellow Central Kansas Track League members Little River, Centre, Inman and Berean Academy. Events begin at 4:30 p.m.