Hillsboro boys win Smoky Valley Invitational

The Hillsboro boys won their second straight invitational of the season by racking up 111 points at the prestigious 11-team Smoky Valley Invitational Thursday.

The Trojans won only five events, but still outpaced their closest challenger, host Smoky Valley by 18 points.

Marion finished sixth with 63 points.

On the girls’ side, Concordia overwhelmed the field with 224 points. Minneapolis was a distant second with 82. Hillsboro placed fifth with 30 points and Marion seventh with 261/3.

“This invitational was very competitive,” Hillsboro track coach Dennis Boldt said of the boys’ division. “Schools like Southeast of Saline, Riley County and Concordia have strong traditions in track and field, but once again it was Smoky Valley that was right behind us in the standings.

“I think this speaks well for our league.”

Aaron Yoder was a triple gold winner for the Trojans, capturing the 800 meters (2 minutes, 3.45 seconds) and the 1,600 meters (4:43.74), and anchoring the 4×400 relay team, which also included Tyler Peachey, Daniel Yoder and Caleb Marsh and in a time of 3:33.38.

Alan Yoder blazed his way to a win in the 100 meter dash with a winning time of 11.17 seconds.

The Trojan 4×100 relay team, which consisted of Marsh, Brodie Unrau, Derek Mayfield and Alan Yoder, picked up the win with a time of 44.65-a mere 0.55 off the school record.

Other notable performances by Trojan athletes included second-place finishes by Peachey in the discus (140 feet 9 inches), Alan Yoder in the long jump (20-2), Sammy Espada in the triple jump (40-31/2) and Marsh in the pole vault (13 feet).

Marsh, who won the long jump at the Marion Relays a week earlier, had trouble getting his timing down and scratched on all four attempts at Lindsborg.

“The boys, as a team, didn’t have their best day, but still managed to score well,” Boldt said. “This is indicative of a team with both young and experienced athletes.

“I was particularly pleased with our more-experienced kids who carried us through some tough events.”

Marion, meanwhile, was paced by Joel Versch, who earned second place finishes in both the 110-meter (16.17) and 300-meter hurdles (43.36).

Versch was pushed in both events by running mate Calvin Riggs, who captured third at 110 meters (16.59) and fourth at 300 meters (44.04).

“Joel and Calvin continue to lead us on the track in the hurdle events,” Marion coach Grant Thierholf said. “They both will make a strong push to qualify for the state track meet.”

Alan Vogel muscled his way to a third-place finish in the shot put (46-5), while James Davis vaulted his way to third (13-0). Davis also placed fourth in high jump (5-10).

“Alan threw very well in the shot put today and our other throwers are getting more comfortable in their events,” Thierholf said. “James had his usual busy day early in the track meet and did very well in all of the jumps.”

For the girls, Hillsboro managed just one gold medal. Charity Davis won the long jump with a leap of 16-3. The sophomore also placed third in the 100 (13.18), anchored the 4×100 relay team to a third-place finish (54.73), and was a member of the fourth place 4×400 relay team (4:31.97).

“The girls have done a great job in their individual events as well this season,” Boldt said. “We were competing against an extremely strong Concordia girls team.

“I can’t think of any girls’ team who has scored so many points in one invitational,” he added. “Not even the strong Conway Springs team the past two years.”

Marion was led by bi-athlete Megan Moore, who took time from her duties as an all-state pitcher for the Warrior softball team to win the javelin (120-2).

Savannah Killough placed third in the javelin (99-9) and Shawna Hett placed fourth in the pole vault (8-6).

“We found out where we stood with many of the schools that will be coming to our regional,” Thierholf said. “From that standpoint, it was a good learning day for us. It gives us a better idea of what we need to do to get prepared for regionals.”

“In most events on the track, we lowered our times and improved our performances,” Thierholf added. “We’re getting better with every meet, and the kids are working hard.”

“I’ve always told them it’s where we are in mid-May that really counts.”

Overall, Boldt was pleased with the performances of his Hillsboro team, but noted not every performer gets his or her just due.

“In a large meet such as this, many great personal performances don’t get recognized in the final results,” he said. “But the coaching staff is excited about all of our efforts tonight.”

Coming-Hillsboro and Marion will compete at the Conrad Nightengale Invitational in Halstead on Friday. Events begin at 3 p.m.

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