The focus for Hillsboro High School track and field coaches this season will be to boost the performance of young athletes who just missed qualifying for the state meet in Wichita this past season.
The Trojans feature two returning state competitors. Senior Joel Allen finished third in the 3200-meter run at Wichita. Coach Dennis Boldt said Allen will compete primarily in the 3200 and periodically in the 1600 and the 4x800 relay.
Junior Callie Serene placed fourth in the 800 at state. She will have the opportunity to compete in the 400 or in middle distance relays, but the 800 is her focus.
Three sophomores lead a group Boldt hopes will take their skills to another level.
Sophomore Shaq Thiessen barely missed joining Allen and Serene at state with a fifth-place finish in the high jump at regionals; he also placed sixth in the long jump. Thiessen has options for other events; he may compete in the triple jump or try short sprints.
Heather Mayfield placed sixth in the high jump in regional competition.
Tyler Proffit was also close to qualifying in the pole vault.
“We have some young kids coming back that bring experience to big meet levels,” Boldt said.
As a junior, current senior Jordan Riggs scored in nearly every meet for the Trojans in the javelin. Junior Brett Mueller had similar success as a 1600 and 3200-runner.
Junior Kiara Espada and sophomore Tyrell Thiessen will be Hillsboro’s top throwers in the shot put and the discus.
Boldt is also excited to see what sophomores Erika Just, Peyton Loewen, Rhonda Rogers, and Taylor Thiessen can do as a sprinting relay team in their second year on the team.
Despite losing state champion Nathan Vogel and four-year state competitor Dakota Kaufman, Boldt’s expectations are high for the young Trojan squad to qualify several athletes for the state meet.
“Without expectations, you’re not giving your kids enough credit,” Boldt said. “I have a lot of kids who do well in a lot of events.”
The Trojans start the year April 5 at Fairfield and are excited for the James Thomas home meet April 29.