Senior Thomas Gillie’s first appearance at the state track meet produced pleasing results. Gillie earned gold and silver medals to lead the Shamrocks to a seventh-place tie in the final Class 2A standings.
Gillie emerged as the 200-meter champion after finishing second by 0.09 seconds to Wade Hampton’s Devonte Smith in the 100. He denied Smith another gold in the 200, nipping the Red Devils junior by 0.15 seconds.
Gillie’s triumph was the first for an EC entry since 2005. He also became the third Shamrock 200 winner in the modern era (since 1971). The previous 200 champs were Josh Williams (2003 in 3A) and John Javis (1985 in 4A).
Eau Claire’s bid to crack the Top 5 at state for only the second time in the modern era (the first since the 2003 Class 3A state championship run) was doomed by an injury suffered by senior Xavier Murray in the 100. Murray, who started the 2A festivities on the track at Lower Richland by helped EC take third place in the 400 relay, suffered an injury in the 100, and had to pull out of the 200 and 400 races.
Murray teamed up with fellow senior Pierre Moore, junior Richard Castellano and freshman Marquis Jones for a bronze medal in the 400 relay.
In the end, EC accrued 30 team points, and shared seventh place with Mid-Carolina – one point behind both Emerald and Chesnee.
The Shamrocks girls team also had a vastly improved showing. The Shamrocks finished with 31 points, good for fifth place. It was the first Top 5 showing by the EC girls since winning the 1985 Class 4A championship.
Sophomore Shameka McCaskill was the Shamrocks headliner – finishing second in the 400 and teaming up with Latracia Houston, Shaketa Belton and Shakenia Johnson for a second-place finish in the 400 relay.
Of note, Eau Claire’s boys and girls team had Top 10 finishes together for the first time since 1979.