Among the 19 boys and 22 girls out for Hillsboro track, thrower Wes Shaw is a singular signpost pointing toward the elements that could lead the team to a successful season.
A sophomore, Shaw is representative of a team heavily skewed toward youngsters with talent, many of whom coach Dennis Boldt is looking to for breakout seasons.
Shaw also is a state-experienced performer, placing fourth in discus and ninth in shot put last season, joining several other Trojans who provide seasoned leadership as they seek to return to Kansas track and field’s ultimate high school event.
Finally, add Shaw’s unbounded enthusiasm to the mix.
“He’s probably the kid that’s the most excited to get the season going,” Boldt said. “We’re trying to slow him down in practice.”
Coaches look to enhance Shaw’s speed and footwork to complement his strength, and also will work toward increasing his competitiveness in javelin.
For senior leadership, the boys have to look no further than state competitor Jonathan Hinerman, who placed eighth in the 1600 meters last year.
“He looks stronger,” Boldt said. “He’s had great success because he works hard, and we look for him to be a top point-getter. We look for him to be our pace setter this year and be a team leader.”
Senior Brittany Schale and juniors Abby Sechrist and Sienna Kaufman are the complements on the girls’ side for state-savvy role models.
“Abby’s a leader by example for us,” Boldt said. “She might not be the most vocal, but she’s very dedicated, very conscientious.”
Sechrist has been to state twice, qualifying last year in the 800, and she’ll continue running that race as well as perhaps in relays, Boldt said.
Schale qualified for state as a 4x800 relay team member, but Boldt hopes to get production out of her in the 1600.
“I’m excited to have her back for her senior year,” he said. “She’s got great talent.”
Kaufman looks to return to state in long jump, and Boldt will have her competing in pole vault as well.
“She has a great upside,” he said. “She brings good speed and power.”
Senior Rebecca Kaufman is slotted to compete in triple jump, Boldt said.
The boys’ sprints will be anchored by senior Travis King, who specializes in the 200 but also will run the 100. Junior Brodie Rathbone will double up, doing triple jump in the field and hurdles on the track.
Boldt said he expects the Trojans to score well in the throwing and jumping events.
“Hopefully, that will carry over onto the track,” he said.
With a lot of younger tracksters, Boldt said he’s been emphasizing development of core strength during practices.
“We’re spending more time on the basics of preparing the overall athlete,” he said. “We’ve got to find the best event for that young person.”
The Trojans will open the season with a home meets April 4 and 11.