Six Trojans to compete in 10 events at state meet

Marah Franz shows the form that earned her a regional championship Friday at the Class 2A regional meet in Hillsboro. The sophomore cleared 9 feet, 6 inches for the gold medal, which ensured a repeat ticket to the state meet this weekend.
Marah Franz shows the form that earned her a regional championship Friday at the Class 2A regional meet in Hillsboro. The sophomore cleared 9 feet, 6 inches for the gold medal, which ensured a repeat ticket to the state meet this weekend.
Battling lightning and rain as well as top competitors from 15 other schools, the Hillsboro track and field team qualified six athletes in a total of 10 events for this week?s state meet during the Class 2A regional Friday at Joel H. Wiens Stadium.

Trojan distance runners were well represented as juniors Emily Sechrist and Grant Knoll combined for five state berths.

Sechrist won the 3,200 meters by more than a minute with a time of 11 minutes, 58.19 seconds and the 1,600 by just over 2 seconds in 5:29.69 and placed third in the 800 in 2:32.19.

?Emily once again showed why she is one of the premier distance runners in the state,? coach Dennis Boldt said. ?Few girls can boast qualifying in three events. Her 3,200 and 1,600 races are her best races and that is our focus.

?Knowing she could qualify in the 800, she elected to run the race despite it being before her 3,200. The state schedule is an advantage to Emily since she will run the 3,200 Friday evening then have recovery time before her 1,600 the next day. The 800 is the last event on her schedule.?

Knoll, meanwhile, placed third in his 3,200 in 10:46.64 and third in the 1,600 in 4:39.35.

?Grant knew exactly where he stood yesterday?his races were going to be tough,? Boldt said. ?There will always be a few challengers in distance races when you get to regionals because athletes will focus on only one or two races. The order of events is a great advantage to Grant as he runs the 1,600 prior to the 3,200.?

Hillsboro?s other regional champion was sophomore Marah Franz, who cleared 9 feet, 6 inches in pole vault to win by 6 inches and earn a ticket to state for the second year in a row.

?Marah has quietly been winning medals throughout the season in pole vault and she has found herself with the top jump yesterday,? Boldt said.

Her brother, senior Avery Franz, qualified for state with a couple of second-place finishes. His mark of 41-73?4 in the triple jump was less than 4 inches behind the winner.

?Avery was excited to jump in the rain, he doesn?t let the elements affect his performance,? Boldt said. ?He has gained great confidence in his triple and that was obvious today.?

Franz?s time of 53.37 in the 400 meters left him 1.5 seconds behind Ethan Carter of Oswego.

?He was determined to qualify in the 400 and when I saw his start, I knew he established himself as a top place winner by the end of his first 200 meters,? Boldt said.

Senior Taylor Vogt and junior Tara Proffitt turned in season-best performances to book their tickets to state.

Vogt finished as the runner-up in the shot put with a throw of 36-13?4. Proffitt placed fourth in the open 400 in 1:04:21.

?Having your best day as a senior in regional competition is the hope of every athlete and coach, and that is what happened to Taylor today,? Boldt said.

?She basically ignored the elements and concentrated on the task at hand and did a great job today.?

Boldt said Proffitt, who had yet to medal in the 400 at a major meet this season, is an example of why an athlete should never give up.

?She has done a much better job getting out of the blocks early and stretching out the backside of the track,? Boldt said. ?Her strong final 30 meters carried her through for a qualifying finish.?

Beyond the athletic accomplishments, weather was a constant story line. Light?ning prompted a one-hour delay early in the meet, and with additional off-and-on rain showers, the event lasted until 9:30 p.m.

?There were a lot of people who made this event possible, including so many who braved the elements to ensure the kids had a great day,? Boldt said.

?This event is about the athletes?all the athletes who competed?and I wanted to let everyone who helped make this event possible we appreciate their efforts.

?Our facility is second to none, and quite frankly I don?t know if this event would have been finished tonight hosted by the majority of other schools.?

State meet?Class 2A will join 1A and 3A in the afternoon session Friday, and then all day Saturday at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

Avery Franz in triple jump, Taylor Vogt in shot put and Marah Franz in pole vault will be the first Tro?jans to battle for a medal with their events beginning at 3 p.m.

Avery Franz and Tara Proffitt will run in the 400 preliminaries at 3:35 and 3:55, respectively.

Emily Sechrist will run the 3,200 at about 7:20 p.m. Friday. The next day, the 1,600 will run around 1:20 p.m. and the 800 around 5:05 p.m.

Grant Knoll will run his 3,200 at around 7:40 p.m. Friday and the 1,600 at around 2:05 Saturday.