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Trojans blend experience and youth for track

Boys and girls have state-level performers to lean on

News editor

If numbers and spirit were all it takes to field a championship track and field team, Hillsboro coach Dennis Boldt could be tempted to fast-forward to the end of the season.

“We’ve got a lot of kids out,” Boldt said, pointing to 20 boys and 19 girls. “We’re a pretty young team, but I’d say it’s one of the most enthusiastic teams we’ve had in quite a while.”

Its youth will likely keep Hillsboro from being much of a factor in team scoring at bigger meets, but both boys and girls squads feature performers who will consistently compete for medals.

Wes Shaw placed third in shot put and seventh in discus at last year’s state meet. A late-season injury limited Shaw in javelin, but Boldt expects Shaw to balance all three throws this season as he continues to mature and improve his technique.

“He hasn’t reached his potential yet,” Boldt said. “He’ll be a leader on the team as well.”

Another returning state competitor, Kaden Ward, will be looking to improve on his sixth-place finish in high jump, seventh in pole vault, and ninth in long jump.

Brodie Rathbone is the only returning member of the state-qualifying 4x400 meter relay, but he’s a multipurpose threat on the track and in the field.

“He can run anything from a 100 to a 400 on the track,” Boldt said. “Mainly I think he’s going to be concentrating on horizontal jumps (long jump and triple jump).”

Beyond those three, Boldt will be bringing along youngsters in sprints, middle and long distances, and in field events. He’s optimistic they will develop to a point where Hillsboro will be a factor in the Central Kansas League meet.

On the girls’ side, Sienna Kaufman will be aiming to improve on her fourth-place state pole vault performance. She also placed ninth last year in her second state long jump appearance.

Abby Sechrist, who Boldt called the team’s “vocal leader,” placed 13th in the 800 at state last season, and also ran a leg on the team’s state-qualifying 4x800 relay. Since the Trojans don’t have enough runners to fill out a 4x800 this season, Sechrist’s focus will shift.

“We’ll focus on the 800 and 1600,” Boldt said. “It takes a lot of training, and you have to be careful because the races are so close.”

The word that followed Addie Behrens around at regionals last year was “almost.” She was the only one to place in four events, but narrowly missed qualifying for state.

“As far as a multi-event athlete, she’s the one who can bring it on the track and on the field,” Boldt said. “She’s only a sophomore. We look for her to do well.”

Boldt said he will be looking to numerous freshmen and sophomores to step up, with several already showing potential for contributing to scoring in early meets.

Last modified March 22, 2018

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