Sechrist sets pace for Trojans

The Trojan track and field team will be led this spring by these returning state qualifiers: (from left) Emily Sechrist, Jesse Brown (2012 qualifier), Avery Franz and Marah Franz.The Hillsboro track and field team will aim for success led by a core of four returning state qualifiers this spring.

Setting the pace for the girls is junior Emily Sechrist, who placed third in her speciality, the 3,200-meter run, fourth in the 1,600 and ninth in the 800.

During the season, Sechrist set new school records in the 3,200 (11 minutes, 37.4 seconds) and 1,600 (5:22.02)

?Emily epitomizes what we?re about here,? coach Dennis Boldt said. ?We?re about hard work, and we?re about team concept. Emily is very talented, but she doesn?t get her success from pure talent, she?s very dedicated.?

Sechrist won the Class 3A cross-country and 3,200 titles as a freshman, finished second in cross country as a sophomore, then came back to win the 2A cross-country title last fall.

?She was awarded early for her hard work and dedication for running and cross country and track,? Boldt said. ?If you have a little success in something, that really motivates kids.?

This season, Boldt plans to have Sechrist narrow her focus to the 3,200 and 1,600, although she may run the 800 occasionally for training purposes. Last year, she ran the 800 because the Trojans considered having a 4×800 team.

?We do not have the depth and experience to have a 4×800 this year,? Boldt said. ?I?ve got to take care of an individual first before a team.?

Last season as a freshman, Marah Franz qualified for state in the pole vault, finishing 12th. This season, Franz is the only vaulter on the entire team, and it will be her primary event.

?She?s an example of someone who found some success early, so I?m keeping her with that,? Boldt said. ?Marah trained (last season) like an 800 person, because we had that opportunity for a 4×800. Marah?s going to train as a sprinter this year. If her success is on the runway, we want to enhance that in her running workouts.?

Two senior letter-winners, Morganne Hamm and Taylor Vogt, should score points for the girls in throwing events.

?Both have gotten better every year in discus and shot,? Boldt said. ?Morganne placed last year and Taylor was close in the regional. If you?re close in our regional, which traditionally has been strong, you know you have the ability to place in a regional your senior year and go to state.?

Two other girls who could make an impact are sophomore Kennedy Klein in the longer sprints, and junior Karen Leihy in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Among the 14 girls on the Trojan roster is a core of five freshmen.

?They will make an impact in the smaller meets, perhaps, but probably not at the invitationals,? Boldt said. ?That?s not taking anything away from them. They are freshmen.?

Boys? team

For the Trojan boys, senior Avery Franz is the lone state qualifier from last season, although junior Grant Knoll qualified in the 3,200 his freshman year.

Franz placed 12th at state in the triple jump.

?Avery is going to concentrate on his jumps this year?long jump and triple jump,? Boldt said. ?We?ll be training him as sprinter, but you?ll probably be seeing him in the 400 and 200, too. That would enhance his jumps.?

Boldt expects Knoll to score points in the distance races.

?He placed at the regional (last spring), but didn?t make it to state?we had brutal races last year at our regional,? Boldt said. ?Grant has been working during the off-season (to get better).?

One senior, Jesse Brown, is back this season after sitting out last year because of an injury. He will focus on high jump and may run sprints.

Junior Cody Craney and sophomore Franklin Jost should generate points in the throwing events.

Freshman Jonathan Hinerman, coming off a solid cross-country season, could make an impact in the distance races.

With only nine boys on the roster, the Trojans won?t have the depth to win many team honors.

?My perspective is that we have the ability to do well individually, but as a team we?ll probably suffer because we?re not covering the events as well.

?There?s nothing wrong with that,? he added. ?We?re a smaller school now, and we?re seeing that across the board.?

Boldt returns the same team of assistant coaches from last season: Mike Jilka in sprints and hurdles, Len Coryea in shot put and discus, Jeff Haslett in pole vault and javelin, Malinda Just in long jump and triple jump and Don Ratzlaff in high jump and running events. Boldt will coach distance runners and relays.

Hillsboro will open the season with a Central Kan?sas Track League meet at Hesston April 8. The Tro?jans? first home meet will be a CKTL event April 29, followed by the James Thomas Invitational May 2.

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