Hillsboro track mixes youth, experience
Hillsboro head track and field coach Dennis Boldt says the main difference between track and field and other sports is that everyone competes on the same level right away.
He said the team is more of a young group this year, but the athletes have a great attitude and work ethic.
“Sometimes when those young kids come out, we have to remind them that they are freshmen competing against some of the state’s best athletes,” Boldt said. “We don’t want them to get disappointed. We want them to be encouraged and we want them to compete.”
The team does bring back three state qualifiers from 2013, two of whom will anchor the girls’ team.
Junior distance runner Emily Sechrist returns the most experience on the team as a two-time state qualifier. In the 3,200-meter run, Sechrist won the state title as a freshman in 2012 and placed third in 2013. She finished ninth in the 800 and fourth in the 1,600 last year as well.
Sophomore Marah Franz is the only other returner that competed at the state meet last year, placing 12th in the pole vault.
Senior jumper Avery Franz is the only athlete on the boys’ team returning after a state appearance last year in which he placed 12th in the triple jump.
Boldt also said he expected junior distance runner Grant Knoll to be a factor in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Seniors Morganne Hamm and Taylor Vogt will look to improve in the shot put and discus throws for the girls, while sophomore Franklin Jost will attempt to make a name for himself throwing on the boys’ team.
Jumps may be one of the team’s stronger events this season. Besides Marah and Avery Franz, Boldt said seniors like Jesse Brown and Addie Lackey would provide a good base for jumpers. Brown will compete in the high and long jumps for the boys while Lackey will high jump and run sprints for the girls.
Many of the younger athletes on the team may run sprints this year. Boldt said the team may struggle getting 4x100 and 4x400 teams, and probably will not have a 4x800 team this season.
“They may not tear it up right away, but they came out Monday and everybody had a great attitude and was working hard,” he said.
Boldt said the team would send certain athletes to Wichita State University’s KT Woodman track meet at the beginning of the season, while others will go to Central Kansas Track League and Hesston meets. He was happy to get some of the more experienced athletes participating in a “high-level” meet early in the season.
“Our biggest goal is we want to create that competitive nature in all our athletes,” Boldt said.
He also mentioned he could not coach the athletes as well without the help of assistants Len Coryea, Jeff Haslett, Mike Jilka, Don Ratzlaff, and Malinda Just.
“I’m very blessed to have such experience,” Boldt said. “These are track athletes. These are multi-sport athletes — people who understand their events and understand coaching, and it’s a great advantage for these young people to have these coaches.”