State vets to lead HHS

These four returning state qualifiers will form the core of Hillsboro’s track and field team this spring. Pictured from left are Sienna Kaufman, Abby Sechrist, Wes Shaw and Brittany Schale.
These four returning state qualifiers will form the core of Hillsboro’s track and field team this spring. Pictured from left are Sienna Kaufman, Abby Sechrist, Wes Shaw and Brittany Schale.
The Hillsboro track and field team will feature five returning athletes with state experience this spring.

Senior Jonathan Hiner­man and sophomore Wes Shaw competed at Wichita in 2016 for the boys, while Abby Sechrist and Sienna Kauf­man represented the Trojan girls.

Brittany Schale competed at state in 2015 as a member of the 4×800 team.

Boys’ team

Shaw made a huge impression in his first year of high school track, earning a fourth-place medal at state in the discus with a throw of 145 feet, 10 inches. He also placed ninth in the shot put with a heave of 48-61⁄2.

“He is pretty motivated, and would like that shot put (school) record, which is ancient,” said head coach Dennis Boldt, referring to Milford Klaas­sen’s record throw of 54-101⁄2 in 1968.

“We’re trying to go slow and learn technique,” Boldt said about Shaw. “He has great feet and continues to work on things like that.”

Shaw led the boys last year in scoring, compiling 121 points over the season.

Hinerman was the next high­est scorer with 61 points. The junior middle-distance runner finished ninth in the 1,600 meters in his debut at state with a time of 4 minutes, 45.7 seconds.

“Jon’s a pretty self-motivated distance runner,” Boldt said of the senior. “He does well in the 1600. I think the biggest thing we need to work on him is getting that finishing speed.”

In fall, Hinerman placed 29th out of 100 runners in the Class 2A cross-country state race in Wamego.

“Jonathan can run a lot of miles and can run a long time, but the main thing is he needs to be able to pick up his speed,” Boldt said. “Speed on the track is way different than cross country. When they’re facing the 1600, that’s a fast race.”

Girls’ team

For the girls, Sechrist placed ninth in the 2A open 800 meters at Wichita in 2016.

“Abby is a good 800, 400 runner,” Boldt said. “She fits real well in there. I wish there were more races that would be there for her. She’s not a two-miler or a miler, she’s a 4×800 person. Hope­fully, we can put together a 4×800 again this year.”

Sechrist scored 68 points during the season, second only to state champion Marah Franz, who finished her senior season with 953⁄4 points.

Kaufman placed 16th in long jump at last year’s state meet with a leap of 13-71⁄4. She was the third-highest scorer on the team with 58 points over the season.

“She is pretty motivated for the long jump this year,” Boldt said. “She’s very strong. One thing Sienna does well is that she’s pretty explosive. The main thing with her is to keep her injury-free and continue to work on technique.”

Schale and Sechrist both were teammates on the 2015 4×800 entry that finished 12th among 16 qualifiers.

“Brittany has great talent in that middle distance,” Boldt said. “She likes to run the mile, she likes to run the 800. I know her favorite is the 4×800, so we’ll do our best to put together that group.”

Key support

Beyond that base of state qualifiers, Boldt is looking for leadership from additional upperclassmen.

“One of the boys we bring back is Travis King, a senior,” Boldt said. “He is focusing on the 200 meters this year. Brodie Rathbone (a junior), is excellent in our jumps and we need to keep him injury-free. Triple jump and hurdles are pretty tough events.

“We’ve got kids like senior Rebecca Kaufman as a jumper for us,” Boldt added. “She’s a four-year track athlete who excels particularly in the triple jump.

“I think those kids provide some nice leadership for us, although they are quiet leaders by example. They come to work each day and get their work done and are pretty focused human beings.”

The Trojans have 40 students on the high school roster and 52 on the middle school roster.

Boldt said the high school squad has “a lot of young talent,” but opted not to highlight individuals.

“Sometimes I get excited about a kid and then all of a sudden, whether it’s injury or whatever, they may not succeed,” he said. “I don’t want to jinx anybody.”

Training emphasis

The Trojan coach did say he and his assistant coaches are renewing an emphasis on core training and agility using plyometrics and other drills.

Plyometrics, also known as “jump training,” are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing speed and strength.

“Before we can focus on the intricate techniques of events, these kids need more strength and speed in order to be successful,” Boldt said. “There’s no reason to be working on our takeoff if we do not have the speed to get down the runway.

“I’m just afraid our athletes coming in right now do not have the level of speed, agility and power that we have had in the past.

“I want to attack this problem head on and give these kids some base training throughout the year so they can be successful.”

Schedule and outlook

The Trojans will host four track meets this season, including two Central Kan­sas Track League events at the start: April 4 and April 11 with events beginning at 4:30 p.m. The James Thomas Invitational will be April 28 and the CKL meet is at home May 11.

Boldt said his team will be pressed to score well as a team this season.

“I don’t know if we have enough events to score well at either our CKTL or the larger meets,” he said. “It seems like we have athletes focusing on one or two events.

“It’s getting to be a rarity to have athletes who compete in four events. That’s nothing against the kids, but right now we’re trying to focus on being successful.

“Kids want to be motivated, and the only way they’re motivated is by success,” he added. “We can encourage them as coaches and parents and teachers, but honestly, if they don’t have success they’re not going to find that motivation.”