ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro boys track team set two league records and two school records on the way to a dominating team title in the MCAA League Meet Friday at Wichita Collegiate.
The Trojans rolled up 174 points to easily outdistance their nearest competitor, Collegiate, with 78.
The Trojan girls finished in a tie for third place with Haven with 68 points. Hesston won the title with 92, followed by Halstead with 78.
Ryan Jilka fueled the boys’ triumph by setting two league records in the hurdles. He won the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.61 seconds, and set a new standard in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 39.42 seconds.
“Ryan was pretty motivated to be league champion his senior year,” said head coach Dennis Boldt. “The records are just icing on the cake.”
Freshman Aaron Yoder set a new school standard in the 1,600 meters with a winning time of 4:34.0. Yoder’s time broke the previous record of 4:34.5 set by Ian Weisbeck in 1994.
“We concentrated on the record today,” Boldt said. “We knew that the competition would be there, and if the weather held, Aaron would have a chance for a good time.”
Meanwhile, the 4×100 team of Alan Yoder, Phillip Terrell, Ross Duerksen and Ryan Jilka lowered the school record they set last week, finishing second to Collegiate in a time of 44.1 seconds.
“This relay team needed the competition that Collegiate was able to give us today,” Boldt said. “Next week there will be more teams like Collegiate and we need the experience on a fast track.”
Senior Scott Winter had an outstanding day with first-place performances in the discus (143-11) and shot put (49-11) and a second-place throw in the javelin (156-2).
“Scott was a little banged up from the previous meets and did not throw all of his attempts in the javelin,” Boldt said. “We opted for him to stop throwing in order not to aggravate any injury this close to regionals.”
Hillsboro’s only other first-place finish came in the long jump, where sophomore Alan Yoder leaped 19-10 to edge the second-place finisher by a half inch.
The Trojans’ best team performance in a single event came in the pole vault. Brian Nickel captured second place by clearing a career-high 12-0. School record holder Sheldon Funk, who wasn’t at 100 percent Friday, finished third at 11-6, and Daniel Yoder finished fourth at the same height.
The Trojan girls, meanwhile, won two relays and one individual event.
The 4×100 team of Andrea Peachey, Elise Matz, Jenna Jost and Julie Hett broke the tape in 52.7 seconds, almost a full second ahead of Hesston.
The 4×400 team of Jessica Boese, Alisa Jost, Hett and Shannon Kroeker won in a time 4:18.24.
The Trojans just missed sweeping the three relays they competed in as Kroeker’s gallant come-from-behind effort in the final leg of the 4×800 came up less than a half-second short of edging Haven at the tape.
“When you talk to other schools, they will tell you that our girls’ relay teams are the ones to beat,” Boldt said. “They hold the (league) records in the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×800 relays. The most impressive relay on this day would have to be the 4×100, who dropped their time substantially as they head into regionals next week.”
Regionals on Friday
Boldt and his team are anticipating some tough competition at the regional meet at Cheney on Friday.
“Our regional will be exceptionally tough,” he said. “We can’t just concentrate on beating one team or individual in each event, we don’t have that luxury.”
The top three finishers in each event qualify for the state championships the following weekend. The two fastest fourth-place times in the state’s four regional meets will fill out the 14 qualifying spots.
“Many fourth-place finishers from our regional will qualify for state competition, and I am certain we will have fifth- and sixth-place finishers from most of the schools who will not get to compete at Wichita State in the championships, but will post better results than individuals from other regionals.”
Boldt said the positive side of competing in a tough regional is that those athletes who survive it have a good chance of placing at state.
“I have coached in both situations-tough regionals and weak regionals-and I prefer the tough ones for those athletes who aspire to compete at the championship meet.
“Barring injury, we have as good a chance as anyone to get a good number of athletes into the state finals.”
Joining the Trojans at Cheney will be Belle Plaine, Cheney, Cimarron, Conway Springs, Eureka, Southeast of Saline, Halstead, Hesston, Holcomb, Southwestern Heights, Lakin, Bluestem, Marion, Medicine Lodge and Wichita Collegiate.
Field events will begin at 3 p.m., with preliminaries in the running events starting at 4:30 p.m. and the finals set to begin at 6 p.m.