Trojan boys win Conrad Nightingale Invit’l title

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro boys’ track team won its third straight big track meet with a runaway win at the Conrad Nightingale Invitational Friday in Halstead.

The Trojans, with only four first-place finishes, still rolled up 113 points. Southeast of Saline came in a distant second with 64 points. Marion placed fifth with 54 and Goessel, the only Class 1A team in the 17-team field, finished 12th with 14.

On the girls’ side, Hillsboro finished seventh with 35 points-40 points behind the winning team from Conway Springs. Goessel placed 13th with 17 points and Marion was 14th with 13.

“Our kids competed well today, both boys and girls,” Hillsboro coach Dennis Bold said. “Some of our best marks of the season were placed in this competition.”

The Trojan boys won three individual events and one relay. Aaron Yoder won the 1,600 meters by more than five seconds with a time of 4:43.92, Caleb Marsh edged teammate Alan Yoder by 71/2 inches in the long jump with a leap of 21-53/4, and Sammy Espada won the triple jump by nearly a foot and a half with a distance of 42-13/4.

The other Trojan victory came in the 4×400 relay. The team of Tyler Peachey, Aaron Yoder, Daniel Yoder and Marsh crossed the tape in 3:29.84, erasing the meet record by nearly 2 seconds. Their time is still more than 6 seconds off the school record, though.

In addition to being the runnerup in the long jump, Alan Yoder placed second in the 100 meters (10.99). Other seconds were recorded by Tim Funk in the high jump (5-10), Marsh in the pole vault (13-0), Daniel Yoder in the 800 meters (2:04.05), and the 4×100 team of Marsh, Kyle Jilka, Peachey and Alan Yoder (44.58).

James Davis recorded Marion’s only first-place finish by clearing 13-0 in the pole vault and recording fewer misses than Marsh.

Zac Ewert picked up the Warriors’ only second-place finish, crossing the line in the 3,200 meters in 10:45.27.

The Warriors picked up four third-place finishes: Joel Versch in the 110-meter hurdles (15.9) and 300-meter hurdles (43.44), Ewert in the 1,600 meters (4:54.52) and Gavin Moore in the 3,200 (10:47.46).

“We were pleased with our hurdles again, Joel and Calvin (Riggs), and I thought our distance kids did awfully well,” Marion coach Grant Thierolf said.

Goessel’s best finishes came from Justin Fensky, who placed third in the triple jump (40-51/2) and the long jump (19-71/4).

“Justin Fensky is doing amazingly well for a freshman,” Bluebird coach Brian Stucky said. “Both long jump and triple jump were freshman class records. He is closing in on Goessel’s school record of 41-1/4 held by Lonnie Hiebert.”

In the girls’ division, Hillsboro’s best finish was a second-place performance by Charity Davis in the long jump (16-11/4).

The Trojans also picked up three third-place medals: Alisa Jost in the 400 meters (1:04.67), Mindy Munguya in the triple jump (33-81/2) and the 4×400 team of Elise Matz, Jessica Boese, Jost and Davis (4:25.37).

Marion girls picked up two third-place medals: Shawna Hett in the pole vault (8-6) and Megan Moore in the javelin (118-1).

“Shawna Hett is still recovering from a back injury last year and she came through and placed third,” Thierolf said. “We’re taking it slow with her, and hoping she just gets a little stronger each week.”

Goessel’s Melinda Stucky won the high jump by clearing 5-0 and Jennifer Schmidt placed third in the long jump (15-10). Darla Funk contributed a point by finishing sixth in the pole vault.

Coach Stucky said, “Melinda jumped very well early, then over-adjusted later. We thought she might go higher today.”

Boldt said the Conrad Nightingale Invitational is a competitive meet and one that his team looks forward to.

“It is a good indicator of where we are and where we need to be when regionals come around,” he said. “Obviously, I feel good about where we are right now, but I also know that we have good competition coming in our league and regional meets and we need to train for that.”

Thierolf also was pleased with his athletes’ performance.

“I think we found some events that we’ll compete very well in at regionals,” he said.

“But we’ve got to get tougher in some events, and we’ve just got to get mentally tougher to compete in these meets,” he added. “But overall I thought we had a good day, especially on the boys’ side.”

Coming-The Trojans were scheduled to compete in Peabody yesterday. On Friday, they will play host to the James Thomas Invitational at the Tabor College track. Events begin at 3 p.m.

Marion was to compete at home in the Centre Quadrangular yesterday and will join the field at Hillsboro on Friday.

Goessel was to compete at the Sedgwick Quint at Moundridge yesterday and then will compete in Hillsboro on Friday.

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