Clay’s girls’ track and field team didn’t win the championship at last Wednesday and Friday’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference meet at Central Catholic, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Notre Dame Academy repeated as the girls’ team champion, followed by Whitmer and Clay coach Scott Wamer’s Eagles.
“To be honest, we thought we were going to compete for a championship,” said Wamer, who was named the TRAC Girls Coach of the Year by the coaches following the meet. “Our 300-meter hurdler had the fastest time going into the meet, but she fell during the prelims. We had some bad luck leading into the meet as well. To have a third-place finish with everything that was going wrong, we were pretty excited about that. Our girls had a really good meet.”
Clay junior Erin Gyurke, who won the 1,600 and 3,200 and helped the Eagles’ 4x800 relay team to a first-place finish, was named the meet’s outstanding female track athlete. She had personal best times in both individual events.
“She went from 5:20 to 5:10 in the mile, and she went from 11:21 to 11:17 in the two-mile, but wasn’t pushed a whole lot,” Wamer said. “She’s a fierce competitor. She was eighth in the state in cross country in the fall, and she started late with (the track team). She brings a lot of fire, a lot of leadership to my young distance girls. She gets on the track, she’s a front-runner. She sets the pace and if you’re going to beat her, you’re going to have to stay with that pace.”
Gyurke teamed with Hanna Hess, Emilie Roman and Haley Hess to win the 4x800.
“We won that handily,” Wamer said. “I expected it to be a tough race between Notre Dame and Central. Our girls really stepped up and ran their fastest time of the year. (9:44.30).
Sophomore Grace Winckowski won the 100 hurdles in 15.92.
“I was thrilled to death,” Wamer said. “Being a hurdles coach, I’m really liking what I’ve seen from Grace, her development. She’s working harder during the week and she’s seeing that it pays off on the weekends. I’m excited for Grace right now. If she stays on pace, she’s going to have an opportunity to hopefully run the next two weeks.”
Senior Nicole Breeden won the discus with a throw of 136-2, well short of her season-best throw of 142-7.
“She’s one of the best discus throwers in Ohio,” Wamer said. “She was fourth in the state last year as a junior and she has signed to throw for the University of Cincinnati next year. She got a nice scholarship for a track athlete. She’s the No. 1 thrower in the district and the region, and she’s in the top five in the state right now.”
Freshman twins Haley and Hannah Hess had their typical duel in the 800, with Haley winning the meet in 2:20.97 to Hannah’s runner-up time of 2:22.07.
“They have a pretty good rivalry,” Wamer said. “When you have two girls who are that competitive and then you throw in that they’re sisters, every practice is like a meet. They don’t like to lose competitions on the track. It is fun watching them train with each other. They are outstanding kids and outstanding student-athletes.”
Clay will compete in the Division I district meet Thursday and Saturday at St. Francis de Sales.
“I expect a lot of our girls to have a chance to move on to regionals,” Wamer said.