Bennett Hillier will be missed.
When first asked about what Hillier has meant to Bonney Lake’s boys track and field team over the year, a common theme emerged from everyone who responded to the question.
“He’s a special kind of person that you don’t get to coach very often,” Bonney Lake coach Andy Foster said. “He’s one of the nicest kids to come around.”
But there’s a competitive fire inside this “nice kid,” who somehow finds the energy to smile after running the 400- and 800-meter races.
With Hillier backing his teammates at Star Track XXXIV, the Bonney Lake boys track and field team narrowly lost the Class 3A state championship to Lincoln. The Panthers finished second with 40 points while the Abes (45.5) took home their tenth team title.
“It’s kind of tough (choosing) between the 800 and the 4x400 relay,” Hillier said. “The 400, I always wanted to place top 8, but the 800 has always been my main event.”
“But I also just really love the 4x400 meter relay because it’s (the) team event,” he added.
At state, Hillier finished fifth in the 400 (50.72 seconds), fifth in the 800 (1:56.8), and was a part of the second-place finishing 4x400 relay (3:20.19).
He wanted to make sure that the relay teams will be strong once he leaves. Especially the 4x400. The younger guys see his passion, and they feed off it. He’s really going to be missed here.
Bonney Lake coach Andy Foster
“It’s just fun (racing) with a bunch of guys you just love,” Hillier said.
Hillier finished in second with William Glick, Eric Voellger and Mykal Fisher, as the relays have continually been one of the biggest strengths of Bonney Lake’s boys team.
With a 4x400 team placing third twice (in 2014-2015) and second this year, it was always Hillier purpose in track to build this team. It’s a part of who he is, some of his teammates would say.
“He always points to someone else’s success before his own,” Glick mentioned at districts.
It’s the idea of making those better around him that has driven Hillier all these years. It’s not enough to have his own personal success.
“That was a big part of what he wanted to accomplish here,” Foster said. “He wanted to make sure that the relay teams will be strong once he leaves. Especially the 4x400. The younger guys see his passion, and they feed off it. He’s really going to be missed here.”