ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro boys’ and girls’ teams overcame some lousy weather and nine other schools to win their respective championships at the MCAA meet Friday in Nickerson.
The boys, running well in the relays and getting some unexpected first-place performances from a couple of underclassmen, won their second-straight title with 128 points. Their closest rival, Smoky Valley, trailed by 52 points.
The girls also bested the Vikings, but by a 23-point margin, 97-74, on the strength of a three-relay sweep and five second-place performances.
The meet finals were held in a persistent shroud of cold and breezy mist, but that didn’t keep the Trojans from delivering some strong individual and team performances.
For the boys, pre-meet favorites Alan Yoder and Sheldon Funk won their respective events, the 100 meters (11.5 seconds) and the pole vault (14 feet 6 inches). But the Trojans got an unexpected boost when sophomores Brodie Unrau won the high jump (5-11) and Derek Mayfield the triple jump (39-61/2).
Hillsboro won two relays and finished second in the third one. The 4×100 team of Ross Duerksen, Adam Woods, Tyler Peachey and Alan Yoder broke the tape in 45.3 seconds to beat Ellinwood by 0.1 of a second.
The 4×800 team of Daniel Yoder, Matt Unger, Pete Richert and Aaron Yoder had a much easier time of it, finishing in 8:24.8 an 18-second cushion over runnerup Halstead.
The 4×400 team of Peachey, Daniel Yoder, Richert and Duerksen just missed a sweep, losing to Collegiate by 0.7 of a second in 3:35.5.
In the individual events, the Trojans picked up three second-place performances: Daniel Yoder in the pole vault, Aaron Yoder in the 800 meters, and Richert in the 1,600 meters.
As usual, the girls were fueled by their relays. The 4×100 team of Andrea Peachey, Jessica Boese, Jenna Jost and Charity Davis broke the tape a half-second ahead of Hesston in a time of 54.0.
The 4×800 team of Boese, Jenna Jost, Alisa Jost and Shannon Kroeker beat runnerup Sterling by more than 18 seconds, while the 4×400 team of Jenna Jost, Boese, Alisa Jost and Kroeker defeated Smoky Valley by 4.4 seconds.
In the individual events, Peachey defended her 100-meter hurdles crown by breaking the tape in a time of 16.3.
That would be the only individual event Hillsboro would claim, but four Trojans contributed second-place points in six events: Davis in the 100 meters and long jump, Kroeker in the 800 meters and high jump, Trista Hanley in the shot put, and Cheryl Prieb in the pole vault.
Coming-Hillsboro will travel to Halstead Friday to attempt to qualify athletes for state competition. Field events begin at 3 p.m., preliminaries at 4:30 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
Once again, the Trojans are in one of the toughest regionals in the state, according to Boldt. Joining Hillsboro will be Belle Plaine, Cheney, Cimarron, Conway Springs, Ellinwood, Halstead, Hesston, Holcomb, Southwestern Heights, Lakin, Lyons, Marion, Medicine Lodge, Wichita Collegiate and Wichita Independent.
The past few years, the top three finishers in each of the four regionals qualified, plus the two fastest fourth-place finishes. This year, because Wichita State has added an eighth lane to its track, the top four finishers in each regional will move on.