Eau Claire’s first appearance at the Class 2A state track meet on Saturday at Lower Richland could be a memorable one, perhaps the best in school history in some regards.
The high water mark for the Shamrocks was a 3A state title run in 2003 when EC scored 49 points. While winning a state title in their first year in a new classification may be a bit of a long shot, EC has the potential to score more than 50 points at state for the first time in school history.
The Shamrocks’ scoring potential is based on a sprint crew that features Xavier Murray and Thomas Gillie. Murray was the winner in the 100- and 400-meter races at last week’s Upper State qualifying meet, and was second in the 200 behind Gillie. Gillie was the winner in the 200. The other EC points at the US gathering came from Vernon Davis, who was first in the 800, and the qualifying 400 and 1600 relay teams.
Gillie (200) and Murray (400) enter with the fastest qualifying times, while Davis had the second-best qualifying time in the 800.
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The individual Midlands spotlight will fal on Pelion eighth-grader Nevada Minard, the defending 1600 and 3200 champion. Minard will be pushed in both races after she failed to win either race at last week’s Lower State qualifier. Minard was second in the 3200 behind Woodland’s Raven Wamer and third in the 1600 behind Bishop England’s Morgan Hohenberger and Catherine Pounder-Clarke. In a best case scenario, Minard can become the first Pelion athlete to come away with three gold medals at state – based on two individual wins and one as a member of the 3200 relay team. The Panthers 4x800 team enters with the top qualifying time. Pelion has never won a relay at state, on the girls or boys sides.