Track Athletes lay it on the line
Warriors claim four medals
by Janae Rempel
The Free Press
The Marion track and field team brought home four medals, including one gold, from the Class 2A state championships Friday and Saturday at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium.
Senior Tyler Palic concluded his high school career as a two-time state champion in the discus. He achieved the winning mark of 182 feet, 6 inches on his final attempt of the day, setting a new meet record in Class 2A. Atwood’s Jeff Horinek set the previous record at 181-10 in 2003.
“(Tyler) fell behind in the finals and hit the winning throw on the last throw of the competition,” coach Grant Thierolf said. “It is a great testament to hard work and grit. Tyler joins Gary Melcher and Nick Klenda as other two-time champions in the discus from MHS. What a great way to end his athletic career at MHS, winning the state championship on the last throw of your career.”
Last year, Palic won the 3A state discus competition with a distance of 175-11.
Palic holds the Marion school record at 191-11, achieved at the Hesston Relays earlier this year.
Palic also placed fourth at state in shot put (46-9.75). He scored all 15 of the boys’ team points.
Senior Jack Schneider narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in the 100, finishing ninth in the preliminary race with a time of 11.51, just 16 hundredths of a second shy of a qualifying berth.
Schneider qualified for the finals in the 200 with a preliminary time of 23.22, good for seventh, but he recorded a false start in the finals.
Schneider anchored the 4x400 relay with junior Colton Mercer, senior Zachary Stuchlik and senior Colin Williams that finished ninth in the preliminaries with a time of 3:34.65, just 64 hundredths of a second from a qualifying spot.
Williams finished 13th in the 1600 with a time of 5:01.83. Junior Noah Dalrymple tied for 14th in high jump (5-8).
As a team, the boys placed 16th with 15 points.
Meanwhile, freshman Anne Baliel led the girls’ team, earning the sixth-place medal in pole vault by clearing 9-6.
“She has a great future in front of her in this sport, and it will be fun to watch her progress in the vault and in her other events,” Thierolf said.
Junior Emmy Hess placed seventh in long jump with a leap of 15-10.
“Emmy Hess just found a way to get out into the pit in the long jump and stayed very consistent this weekend in her jumps,” Thierolf said. “She is every bit the competitor we thought she would be and will work to get back to state next year.”
Hess was 12th in the 100 hurdle preliminaries with a time of 17.42 seconds.
Hess also anchored the 4x100 relay that finished 12th in the preliminaries with a time of 52.63 with teammates senior Sam Richmond, Baliel and junior Maria Stuchlik.
Baliel, Maria Stuchlik, freshman Abigail Stuchlik and Richmond finished 14th in the 4x400 preliminaries with a time of 4:21.62.
Thierolf spoke to the contributions of the seniors, as well as some returners.
“We had four other seniors end their careers at MHS this weekend, and even though the results were not what they had hoped for, it does not diminish what they have given to their school,” Thierolf said. “Jack Schneider has won a bunch of big races for us over the years and has carried the load for us for four years.
“Colin Williams has three previous medals from the state meet and worked hard to get to the place where he could contend in every race he enters.
“Sam Richmond has run at state a couple of times as a relay member and has a medal from the 4x400 relay. We will miss her quiet leadership and work ethic at practice.
“Zachary Stuchlik has come a long ways in his four years, running at the state meet the past two years and being a solid scorer for us in the jumps.
Thierolf praised his relay teams and expressed optimism for the future.
“Our relay teams all ran well, running season bests or near season bests in each event,” he said. “We have the majority of our girls’ team members back and with a good year of training, we have a chance to get the relay teams back to the state meet.”
Trojan seniors lead the way
by Don Ratzlaff
The Free Press
Dennis Boldt, Hillsboro track and field coach, was pleased with the accomplishments of his athletes at the track and field state championship meet at Wichita’s Cessna Stadium Friday and Saturday.
“They achieved everything from great experience to state records,” Boldt said.
Leading the way was Wes Shaw, who claimed not only a gold medal, but also a new school record and state record in the shot put with a throw of 60 feet, 11.5 inches, a distance that was nearly 10 feet, 9 inches farther than the runner-up.
Shaw came back later on Friday to place second in discus behind Tyler Palic of Marion. Shaw’s best throw of 178-1 was a little over 4.5 feet behind his Marion competitor.
“Obviously, Wes did an outstanding job in both throws, setting a new 2A record in the shot put and finishing as a close runner up in the discus also with one of the best discus throws in 2A history,” Boldt said.
“He had his mind set on winning his competitions with exceptional throws, and he finished the day with new personal records, bettered his school records and set a new state record in the shot put with the best throw of all the classes.”
Josiah Driggers finished sixth in long jump with a distance of 20-7.5. Jaquan Allen of Bennington won the event with a leap of 22-1.
“Josiah started his competition with two matching 20-7.5 jumps, which ensured his place in finals and eventually a state medal,” Boldt said. “He is one of our athletes who gained an incredible amount of experience while having a great performance.”
For the girls, Jessica Saunders scored in both of her throwing events. The freshman placed fourth in discuss with a throw of 116-2. The winning throw was by Sabrina Thomas of Kiowa County of 127-5.
Saunders finished sixth in shot put with a heave of 35-11.25. Thomas of Kiowa County took gold again with a throw of 38-0.35.
“Jessica had an outstanding first state competition with medals in both of her events,” Boldt said. “Again, it was nice that she threw both on the same day and I think it made a difference to throw on the second day after getting acclimated with the venue and adjusting to just how big this event is.
“One thing that really worked out in our favor this weekend was that our throwers competed on separate days, competing in both of their events,” Boldt said. “This really allowed us to focus on both Wes and Jessica in their events.”
Meanwhile, Trojan senior Sienna Kaufman claimed the silver medal in 2A pole vault by clearing 10 feet. Bree Frieling of Smith Center won gold by clearing 10-6.
“She went through early jumps clean, meaning she made her opening height of 8-6 through 10-0 without a miss,” Boldt said. “This is so important for jumpers at this meet because so many jump the same height, you generally have to go back to break ties on a system of misses. She finished the season with one of her career-best clearances.”
Kaufman also finished 13th in long jump, with a distance of 14-7.75. The winning distance by Kate Allen of Heritage Christian Academy was 17-3.
Abby Sechrist placed 10th in the 1600 meters with a time of 5:47.20. Halle Johnson of Bennington claimed the gold medal with a time of 5:16.24.
“Her time was her second best of the season, and she performed this on a brutally hot day in her first 1600 meter competition at state.” Boldt said. “The field got out extremely fast today, and it was evident it was too fast for many, as Abby gained many places on her final 400 meters, finishing extremely strong.”
The Trojans 4x100 relay team comprised of Roxana Nieto, Kaufman, Iris Klein and Kinsey Kleiner placed 15th with a time of 54.01. Moundridge won gold with a time of 50.97 seconds.
“The girls 4x100 on Friday did not come away with one of their best times due to a shaky handoff, but did gain valuable experience running at the state meet,” Boldt said. “With two freshmen and a sophomore on the relay, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”