HHS claims 5 medals at state

Emily Sechrist competes in the 3,200 at the state track meet at Cessna Stadium last weekend. Sechrist won three medals at state, claiming second in the 3,200 (11:43.19), third in the 1,600 (5:24.18) and seventh in the 800 (2:26.28).The one gold medal that the Hillsboro track and field team earned at this weekend?s state meet in Wichita went home with someone else.

In a controversial and somewhat confusing ruling, the meet?s games commission denied senior Avery Franz the gold medal in the triple jump even though the Trojan senior landed the longest jump of the day on his first attempt in the finals.

The problem arose during the preliminaries. After fouling on his first two attempts, Franz had one last chance to qualify for finals. To avoid another foul, Franz launched his jump 2 feet behind the takeoff board?but appeared to cover sufficient distance to qualify, according to Trojan coaches.

One official waved a white flag, indicating a fair jump, but another official questioned the call. Because the event officials couldn?t agree, they told Franz to take another jump at the end of the flight rotation?and decided not to measure the jump he just completed.

On his do-over attempt?again taking off 2 feet behind the board?Franz?s jump measured 42-21?4, which was the second-best effort of the day and his ticket to the finals.

But the coach of the athlete who would have been bumped from finals, protested that Franz shouldn?t have been allowed the additional jump.

With the issue under review by the games commission, the event continued. On his first attempt in finals, Franz landed what would have been the championship jump.

But the games commission eventually ruled that Franz should not have received four jumps in prelims; therefore, he was disqualified from the event even though he had followed the event officials? instructions.

?Even though I will continue to go on record and say the event officials did what was initially correct?awarding him an additional jump?it was not viewed that way by the games committee,? coach Dennis Boldt said.

?I feel Avery and his family handled this most difficult situation with great composure, but we all left the stadium with an empty feeling in our stomachs,? he added.

?Avery is a great competitor and we look forward to watching him compete at Tabor College next season. I know he will do our school and community proud in the future, because he already has done that now.?

Franz also qualified to compete in the 400-meter run, but finished eighth in his preliminary heat Friday with a time of 54.9 seconds and did not qualify for finals.

Meanwhile, Emily Sechrist, facing tough competition from Maranatha Academy, claimed a silver medal Fri?day evening in the 3,200 with a time of 11 minutes, 43.19 seconds. Then on Saturday, the junior took third in the 1,600 in 5:24.18 and seventh in the 800 in 2:26.28.

In one of the great individual performances of the weekend, Lauren Harrell of Maranatha won all three of those races?the 3,200 in 11:41.24, the 1,600 in 5:14.47 and the 800 in 2:20.91.

?Emily is such a competitor in each of her races,? Boldt said. ?She runs technically very well and always keeps herself in contention for first place.

?I cannot be more proud of, as well as impressed with, this young lady as she continues to prove herself as one of the state?s premier distance runners. We look forward to her continuing to improve on her performances again next season.?

Clearing a career-best 10 feet, sophomore Marah Franz won a silver medal for the Trojans in her second appearance at state in pole vault. Laramie Leakey won the event by clearing 10-6.

?Marah continues to vault well when the pressure is on,? Boldt said. ?She has been working with new poles and steadily gaining the confidence that cleared 10-0 feet today.

?Today, her only misses were at the height on which she went out. Each attempt at 10-6 was a great effort, and I have the confidence she will eclipse that height and even more as she continues next season.?

Three Trojans made their debut at state this year. Grant Knoll placed 11th in the 3,200 with a time of 10:48.89, then came back the next day to earn the seventh-place medal in the 1,600 in 4:43.12.

?He has developed his races throughout the year, becoming a competitor that is always considered a contender,? Boldt said of the junior.

Senior Taylor Vogt finished 11th in shot put with a toss of 32-61?2 while junior Tara Proffitt completed her 400 race Friday in 1:07.68, but did not qualify for finals.

?The experience that Tara and Taylor had this weekend will help them both in the future,? Boldt said of his team. ?Tara will be able to carry this into next season and Taylor can build upon this experience in her career at Tabor.

?Qualifying (for state) alone is a great accomplishment, and we also had the privilege of bringing home five state medals,? he added.

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