HHS brings home six state medals

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Led by the two female qualifiers on the team, Hillsboro accumulated six medals during Class 3A state track competition Fri?day and Saturday at Wichita State?s Cessna Stadium.

Freshman Emily Sechrist made an impressive debut at the state?s largest high school sporting event, winning the 3,200 meters on Friday evening, then placing third in the 1,600 on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, senior Callie Serene capped her four-year string as a state qualifier in the 800 meters with her best finish yet: a second-place medal.

For the boys, Shaq Thiessen captured a silver medal in the long jump, Mitchell Day finished fourth in the 100 meters and Tyler Proffitt snagged a fifth-place medal in pole vault by going a full foot higher than his previous personal record.

?We had a very successful two days at the state track meet, and I feel all our athletes competed well,? coach Dennis Boldt said.

For Sechrist, winning the 3,200 was something of a deja vu experience to her cross-country state championship in fall as she again bested Heather Ruder of Thomas More Prep in the meet?s longest race.

Sechrist broke the tape in 11 minutes, 42.36 seconds to defeat her revival by 31?2 seconds.

?Emily came in knowing that in order to win she would have to beat the two-time defending champion Heather Ruder of TMP,? Boldt said, ?and to her credit, she focused on her race rather than dwelling on who she need to beat.

?She started out well, closing the gap on Ruder during lap four and then challenged her on lap six, taking the lead on the backstretch,? he added. ?Emily has a great kick and once she had the lead I knew she would never relinquish it. She should be proud of all the preparation she did in order to achieve this state championship.?

?I was really excited,? Sechrist said about her victory. ?I was really hoping for a top two, then when I won I was just really excited. I was really nervous going into it, though. It was really cool to see a lot of people from Hillsboro cheering me on.?

Ruder did gain a measure of revenge in the 1,600 by beating Sechrist by about 61?2 seconds and runner-up Leah Heath of Horton by about 6 seconds. Ruder went on to win the 800 as well.

Serene?s second-place finish in the 800 earned her the third state medal of her HHS career. She crossed the finish line in 2:27.03, about three seconds behind Ruder.

?Callie waited literally a day and a half for her event,? Boldt said. ?She got out well in the 800, challenging the defending champion, and came across the finish line as state runner-up. She has run well all year, and finishes a stellar career not only as a track athlete, but as a three-sport standout this season.?

For the boys, Thiessen set the standard on his first jump of day, which covered 22 feet, 51?4 inches. The junior surpassed 21 feet on all six of his jumps.

?Every athlete likes to start their competition with a good jump, and Shaq is no exception,? Boldt said. ?He finished his competition with four jumps of 22 feet or better. This was definitely his best day.?

Day qualified for the finals of the 100 on Saturday morning, finishing second in his heat with a time of 11.28 seconds. In the finals, the junior lowered his time to 11:03 to finish 0.26 seconds behind the winner, Drew Diederich of Sacred Heart.

?Mitchell came into this competition as a first-time state competitor and came away with a very good finish in the 100 meters,? Boldt said. ?It is his favorite race and he should be proud of his accomplishment.?

In terms of individual improvement, Proffitt may have turned in the best effort of the weekend when he cleared 13-6 in the pole vault for fifth place.

?Tyler came into his first state championship as a 12- 6 vaulter and left as a 13-6 vaulting medalist,? Boldt said of the junior. ?Simply put, he came to compete. The dedication to his event has paid huge dividends.

?He found himself in one of the best state competitions I can remember in recent years,? Boldt added. ?Having the top 10 vaulters all clearing 13 feet is an unusual event, and it took extra?ordinary effort and focus to be come out as one of the state?s top vaulters.?

The Trojans experienced good effort mixed with some disappointment with their other state entries.

Sophomore Jesse Brown cleared 6 feet in high jump, good enough to tie for sixth place, but fell just short of a medal based on misses.

The boys? 4×800 team of Josh Richert, Grant Knoll, Avery Franz and Bret Mueller placed eighth in 8:34.38, about 34 seconds behind the winning team from Hutchinson Trinity.

Mueller placed 13th in the open 800 in 2:08.12, a little more than three seconds behind is regional qualifying time.

The Trojans? 4×400 team of Franz, Brown, Richert and Mueller finished last in its preliminary heat on Friday after dropping the baton on an exchange.

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