Eau Claire, of course, was the Midlands headline story at the Class 2A girls state track and field championships last week at Lower Richland.
The Shamrocks and Pendleton both came away with four events wins, but EC’s superior depth led to an 11-point winning margin (88-77) over the Bulldogs. It was Eau Claire’s fifth state championship, but the first in 25 years.
The EC stars were Shameka McCaskill, Andreina Paige, Latracia Houston, Belton Shaketa and Andreini Paige.
McCaskill was the only Shamrock to claim individual gold with a win in the 400 meters. McCaskill and the rest of the EC headliners teamed up on three winning relay teams. It was only the sixth three-relay sweep in any girls classification since the distance relay (4x800) was added to the event lineup in 1998.
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McCaskill came away with three gold medals, adding anchor legs on the Shamrocks winning 400 and 1600 relay teams. Houston picked up gold on the 400 relay, silver in the 200 meters and bronze in the 100. Andreina Paige had the largest medal haul on the team – two golds for her part on the 1600 and 3200 relay teams and two silvers in the hurdles events. Shaketa and Andreini Paige also earn two relay gold medals. Andreini Paige picked up a bronze award in the 400 hurdles, as well.
Raven Burgess, Asia Archie and Sara Jacobs also joined in the relay fun.
Eau Claire’s four gold medals on the way to the title gave the program 33 first-place finishes at state through the years. The Shamrocks are now tied with Westside for 12th place on the all-time list.
Otherwise, Columbia senior Angie Cunningham and Gilbert eighth-grader Victoria Rivera were the only other Midlands state medal winners. Cunningham claimed silver in the shot put behind Woodland’s Te'Shell Britt, who retired with six gold medals and three straight sweeps in the throws.
Rivera became the first Gilbert entry to medal in a running event in at least 15 years by placing second in the 3200.