In the finals of the high jump and pole vault Friday in Goessel, Hillsboro seniors Shaq Thiessen and Tyler Proffitt were competing against no one.
Thiessen had already won the high jump by clearing 6 feet on his second attempt at that height. Peabody-Burns jumpers Braxton Kyle and Seth Topham both topped out at 5-10.
Thiessen still took three attempts at 6-2. A jump a few centimeters higher and he would have been able to arch his back over the bar. Thiessen said a knee tweak from playing basketball the night before had kept him from making that mark. Even so, 6-2 was his personal best from his sophomore season.
“I was seeing if I could get it,” Thiessen said. “We’ve probably only been jumping three days now.”
The senior jumper elected not to high jump last season because of nagging back injuries, deciding to run sprints and long jump. He won the long jump easily on Friday with a leap of 21-9, edging out teammate Avery Franz, 19-7. He said he is rusty after a season away from the event.
“My form is a little sketchy,” Thiessen said.
Thiessen just missed qualifying for state in the high jump in 2011. He said his goal is to clear 6-4, which would have been good enough for second at state last season. Caney Valley junior Nic Camper cleared 6-6 last year to win the 3A championship.
Proffitt won the pole vault with his very first jump. He entered the field at 11 feet. Second place in the event was Ben Hirsch of Berean Academy at 8-6.
This victory did not prevent Proffitt from jumping several more times, eventually topping out at 13 feet. He took three attempts to clear 13-6, his personal best set last season at the state meet. He did not miss the height by much; Hillsboro pole vault coach Jeff Haslett told Proffitt that he had the requisite height for clearance, but was tapping the bar on his ascent.
“I wanted to get as many jumps as I could,” Proffitt said. “This was the first meet I really jumped at.”
Proffitt also has another motivation — his primary competitor for the state championship, Austin Jones of Wellsville, has already cleared 14-6 this season. Proffitt says his goal is to clear 15 feet by the state meet.
To accomplish this goal, topping his personal best by nearly a foot and a half, Proffitt is currently transitioning between poles. He is using a 14-foot pole with a weight limit of 165 pounds. He is practicing with a 14-6 pole. He has adjustments to make, holding his hands higher and gathering enough speed on the run up to gain momentum for the jump.
“It’s mostly about speed,” Proffitt said of pole vaulting.
Proffitt has had a good experience changing poles last season. He transitioned to a longer pole in his final meets last season, using the league and regional competition as an elite training ground. Changing poles allowed Proffitt to top his previous personal best by a foot last season in the state competition, good enough for fifth place.
Thiessen and Proffitt were just two Hillsboro athletes who set the tone for the meet on Friday. Head coach Dennis Boldt said the approach was to load up on individual events.
“We did it today for conditioning purposes,” Boldt said. “We go hard. We don’t just jog anything.”
Boldt pointed out the efforts of distance runners Josh Richert and Emily Sechrist.
Richert won the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11 minutes, 1.8 seconds, the 1,600 with a time of 4:59.40, and 800, 2:11.80. He also competed with Micah Mashburn, Avery Franz, and Proffit on the 4x400 relay team. He ran the anchor leg of the second-place effort, 3:48.50.
“It’s incredibly hard,” Boldt said of running all of those events.
Sechrist was equally prolific and successful. She also won the 3,200, 11:52.90; 1,600, 5:45.60; and the 800, 2:34. She competed on the third place 4x400 team with Marah Franz, Kennedy Klein, and Tara Proffitt, 4:41.50.
Sechrist’s dominance in the 3,200 and 1,600 were expected. She won the 3200 by about a minute and a half and the 1600 by about 67 seconds. She is the returning state champion in the 3,200. She won the 800 by about 5 seconds. Boldt said Sechrist could potentially run an 800 under 2:20, except that focusing on the shorter race takes away from her efforts in the 3,200 and 1,600.
“I bet she could go to state in three or four events,” Boldt said. “But, multiple third and fourth places are not as important as one first place.”
Girls’ high jump — 2. Heather Mayfield, 4-8.
Girls’ pole vault — 1. Marah Franz, 8-0. 3. Ashley Bartel, 8-0.
Boys’ triple jump — 1. Avery Franz, 39-4.25
Girls’ discus — 2. Morganne Hamm, 93-02
Girls’ shot put — 3. Taylor Vogt, 27-9.50.
Boys’ shot put — 2. Cody Craney, 38-4.
Boys’ 1,600 — 3. Grant Knoll, 5:10.
Boys’ 3,200 — 2. Knoll, 11:18.10.
Girls’ 400 — 2. Mayfield, 1:13.
Girls’ 200 — 3. Rhonda Rogers, 30.70.
Girls’ 4x100 — 2. Bartel, Rogers, Klein, Tara Proffitt, 57.30.
Boys’ 4x100 — 2. Craney, Mashburn, Avery Franz, Tyler Proffitt, 47.90.