Competition stiff at CKL track meet

Hillsboro?s Grant Knoll (2) battles with Nickerson?s Ben Berridge (right) and Hesston?s Zach Esau as they make the final turn in the 1,600-meter run.  The trio ended within three seconds of each other with Esau winning, Berridge second and Knoll third.Competing in favorable weather but against perhaps the toughest competition of the season, the Hillsboro track and field team managed only one gold medal at the Central Kansas League meet Thursday in Halstead.

Sophomore pole vaulter Marah Franz grabbed gold for the Trojans by clearing 9 feet, 6 inches, beating her personal best of 9-1.

This year, an already strong field of 10 CKL schools was bolstered by the participation of Hoising?ton and Larned, who officially will join the league next year.

?Without a doubt, our league meet, with the additions of Larned and Hoising?ton this year, created our most challenging event of the season,? coach Dennis Boldt said. ?Our athletes met the challenge and represented our school extremely well.?

How strong was the field?

For the first time this season, Hillsboro distance standout Emily Sechrist did not win a race?despite turning in quality times.

The junior finished second to Pratt?s Halle Helfrich in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and crossed the finish line fourth in the 800.

In the 1,600, Helfrich edged Sechrist by a shade over a second, 5:23.12 to 5:24.22. In her speciality, the 3,200, the gap was 11:47.21 to 11:49.89.

The Trojan boys brought home two silver medals. Jesse Brown placed second in a ?jump off? after tying Haven?s Tyler Crotts by clearing the winning height of 6 feet.

Brown came back to take third in long jump with a leap of 19-9.

Avery Franz captured Hillsboro?s other silver medal in his speciality, the triple jump. His mark of 41-10 was well short of the winning 43-6 effort by Hesston?s Justin Smith. Franz placed sixth in long jump at 18-91?2.

Grant Knoll scored a pair of bronze medals, placing third in both the 1,600 (4:42.02) and 3,200 (10:39.25) in season-best times.

Also scoring for Hillsboro were Taylor Vogt, who took fifth in shot put with a heave of 33-10, and the 4×800 team of Brittany Schale, Callie Linnens, Kennedy Klein and Karyn Leihy, who placed sixth in their season debut with a time of 11:27.62.

Regionals?The Trojans will be battling to qualify for state when they host the Class 2A regional Friday.

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