As the new head track coach at Garden City High School, Brian Hill has taken on a somewhat different philosophy in which events he places the Buffs’ girls and boys’ competitors as the stretch run of the season hits full stride.
On Friday at the Derby Invitational, for example, he entered senior Garret Doll only in the 800-meter run, and Doll responded with a season-best mark of 1:58.10 in winning the event.
He also entered junior Taylor Savolt in the 300 hurdles, the triple jump and the open 400-meters, giving her the day off from the 4x400-meter relay and long jump.
“We’re just working the kids in ways to make sure they get the proper workouts they need, and I don’t necessarily look at the team scores as the most important part of the day this time of year,” Hill said on Saturday.
“Our focus is getting the kids ready for WAC (Western Athletic Conference on Thursday in Dodge City), regionals (May 18) and state (May 25-26).”
And yet, the Buffs did manage to take second in both the girls and boys team standings in Derby, as the GCHS girls scored 87 points to finish behind powerhouse Newton’s 150 points. The Railers are the defending state Class 5A champions.
The boys, meanwhile, scored 78 points to trail Campus’ 100 points and just ahead of host Derby’s 73.
“Overall, I thought it (meet) went well,” Hill said. “We didn’t have many kids in four events. It was our fourth track meet in 11 days, and we had to be careful with our events coming up. We didn’t want to get anybody hurt, nor did we want them to end up with a case of tired legs.”
Of Doll’s 1:58.10, Hill said he thought his senior middle distance runner ran a great race, as he held off Maize South’s ace Britte Magnuson, who was right on his heels in 1:58.59.
“It was a great race, and I think he’s doing everything at the right time,” Hill said. "He’s ready to perform at his best. For him to run in the 1:56 to 1:57 range, he’ll need to drop another second or two off his opening 400.”
For Savolt, last year’s state runner-up in the 300 hurdles, the meet’s schedule didn’t favor any of her events. She competed concurrently in the triple jump while also having to report to compete in the 400 meters, where she ran a 1:01.64 to finish second.
“She’s been working hard and had a good day on Tuesday at our meet (season bests in both long and triple jumps), but the schedule Friday forced her into a quick turnaround for the 300 hurdles,” Hill said. “We’re finding a way to build a little more strength, and with very few times to get in workouts, we just used the open 400 as a good workout for her.”
Senior Brooke Navarro, who along with her twin Mya, recently signed letters-of-intent to attend and run at Colby Community College, had her personal best time in winning the 1,600-meters in 5:36.62.
“We ran her in just the one race to give her a chance at a P.R., and not wanting to overuse her, as well,” Hill said.
Raegan Linenberger won the high jump at 5-04 while Saleen Wears set a personal best in capturing the pole vault at 10-00.
On the boys side, Jaycob Vargas captured the only other gold medal for the Buffs by winning the pole vault at 13-06. Seconds were taken by Nathaniel Hubbard in the 400 meters (51.87), Jarrod Springston in the triple jump (41-10.50) and Demarcus Elliott in the shot put (51-01.50).
Contact Brett Marshall at email@example.com.