The McClain High School boys and girls track and field teams will be sending six athletes to the 2017 State Track and Field tournament on June 2 and 3 to be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The six athletes attending the state meet are Kaylee Hurley, Chayden Pitzer, Hunter Scott, Ashley Hardesty, Maddie Stegbauer, and Tristan Pitzer. The following is a preview for the three individuals and the relay team:
Hurley is returning to the state meet for the fourth year in a row and will be competing in four events: the girls seated shot put, girls seated 100-meter dash, girls seated 400-meter dash, and the girls seated 800-meter run.
Hurley set state records in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:11.57 and in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:30.07, both records were broken in front of a hometown crowd on April 28 at the first annual Bob Bergstrom Invitational held at McClain High School.
Hurley said, “I’m hoping that with good weather, I can break the 800-meter record again.”
Hurley took the time to reflect on her success by saying, “Im proud of the state allowing this to happen. Adaptive sports have been growing like crazy over the past couple of years. It’s really awesome that it has been included high schools and that I actually get that opportunity. Im excited for my fourth year, I think this will be my best year yet.”
Hurley’s dedication and tenacity have served her well in the track and field world but she has also applied that set of values to other parts of her life. She shared some of her desire to advocate for herself and others with disabilities by saying, “I’m going to miss showcasing the fact that people with disabilities can push past their disadvantages. I really think that is an awesome thing for the community, to show them that this is a thing and this does happen. I’m going to miss promoting and advocating for people with disabilities and showing them that it is possible.”
Hurley also related her desire to continue her athletic endeavors and continue championing the cause of integrating adaptive sports into the popular conscience of the sporting community as a whole by saying, “There is a Paralympic training facility about an hour from where I am going to college. So I plan to continue to race in National events and train at that facility. We have talked to the coaches at my school about letting the athletes at the Paralympic facility to train with the team there. I’m hoping that will go through that way more people can be exposed to it.”
Hurley will compete in the shot put on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The 400-meter dash is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. The 800-meter run will be Saturday morning at 10:55 a.m. The 100-meter dash will be Saturday afternoon at 4:40 p.m.
The 4×200-meter relay team consisting of Hunter Scott, Ashley Hardesty, Maddie Stegbauer, and Chayden Pitzer has had a record breaking season for the Lady Tigers, setting the McClain High School record in the events several times during the course of the season.
C.Pitzer revealed that the team has some nerves heading into the state tournament by saying, “We are very nervous. There is a lot of competition up there, it’s the best teams in the state and we are going up against them.”
Stegbauer added, “It’s a big jump from what we have been doing.”
Hardesty says that the team is “very confident” heading into the state tournament despite the nerves and the obvious jump in competition.
When asked to share their thoughts on the season as a whole Scott answered for the group saying, “It’s been a record breaking season. Almost every time we run the event we set the record.”
With all four members of the team returning next year the girls are excited about the possibility of performing at even higher levels next year with C.Pitzer saying, “We are so excited about the possibilities.”
McClain girls head coach Jake Orr-Zody said, “As a first year coach I have been really fortunate to have four girls that have accomplished this much. They were one place from qualifying for the 4×100 as well. The last three times they have ran the 4×200 they have PR’d and with that set a school record.”
Orr-Zody expressed his pleasure with the team saying, “I’m happy with the work they have put in this year. I’m excited to see if they can set a PR again and reach the finals on Saturday.”
When asked about the team chances of performing well coach Orr-Zody said, “I think definitely we have the ability and we have the talent. We took almost a full second off of our prelims at regionals to our finals time. We are going to need that type of effort again to reach the finals. But there are a lot of fast teams there and they may not be enough.”
Orr-Zody expressed that regardless of the result he would be happy when he said, “If we PR I’ll be happy, the girls will be happy. We will know we left it all out there and that’s all you can expect or want as a coach. I’m happy for them just getting the opportunity to compete on this stage.”
The preliminary heats for the girls 4×200-meter relay are scheduled for Firday at 2:30 p.m. with the finals scheduled for Saturday at 1:15 p.m.
C. Pitzer has had a dream season for the Lady Tigers contributing to the overall success of the girls track and field team by competing in several events throughout the season and excelling in all of them.
C.Pitzer qualified with the 4×200-meter relay team and in the girls 200-meter dash as well as the girls 100-meter hurdles. C. Pitzer has the top qualifying time from region seven in the 200-meter dash at 25.46.
C. Pitzer said, “I feel like I can place in both races. I feel like the 200-meter dash is my best event.”
When asked about her motivation for joining the track team she credited her older brother by saying, “It was actually my older brother. I saw him when I was in sixth grade and he was in seventh I just saw him running and I decided I wanted to do that.”
Orr-Zody had high praise for C. Pitzer when he said, “She has had a fantastic season.”
Orr-Zody recognizes that the talent at the state tournament will be much higher than anything she has faced this season and said, “There are some really amazing times. She PR’d by three tenths of a second in the 200-meter dash at regionals. For her to qualify for the finals on Saturday she is going to have to do that again.”
Concerning the 100-meter hurdles Orr-Zody said, “If she runs a PR or gets near a PR she has a chance to advance to the finals on Saturday. At this point we just want to have a good day, be ready, and be prepared on Friday. Get a chance for the finals so that we give ourselves a chance at getting on the podium.”
The work that C. Pitzer has put into getting faster and stronger has paid off for her in a big way resulting in what has been her most successful year on the track. She said, “I think this has been my best year so far.” If she continues to push herself there is a good chance she can be even better next year.
C. Pitzer will compete in the preliminary heat of the girls 100-meter hurdles at 2:00 p.m., and in the girls 200-meter dash at 3:40 p.m. both of which will take place on Friday. If she advances to the finals on Saturday she will compete at 1:00 p.m. in the girls 100-meter hurdles and at 2:40 p.m. in the girls 200-meter dash.
T. Pitzer finally gets his opportunity to compete on the state level after four years. He qualified for the state tournament in the boys 200-meter dash with a time of 22.92.
T. Pitzer has not only helped the success of the McClain boys track and field team by competing at a high level, but he has also taken on a mentor role with younger members of the team.
Boys head coach Nate Luke reflected on T. Pitzer’s overall impact this season when he said, “It’s frankly been easy coaching Tristan this year. Throughout the year he has done a good job of helping the younger kids out. Just telling them what to do and how to do it. He has kind of been an extension of all of the coaches.”
Coach Luke also said, “More so than past athletes Tristan has done a very good job of having everything in place and ready to go.”
Luke commented on the chances of T. Pitzer succeeding at the state meet by saying, “I think he has a great chance to qualify for the finals. There are not going to be many athletes at the meet that will come out of the blocks better than Tristan. In terms of sustaining that is where he needs to step up a little bit. Once he gets past that first 100-meters we are going to see what he is made of. I think he is going to do some great things.”
T. Pitzer feels like all the hard work he has put in is paying off. He said, I have grown throughout the last four years. I feel like I have put it all together this year. I’m ready to go.”
When asked to reflect on his experience with the track and field team T. Pitzer said, “I have enjoyed the teachings of Bob Bergstrom, he is a great coach. I going to miss coach Luke and coach Orr-Zody they have helped me a lot throughout the season. They have pushed me to go super hard this year and it has paid off. I’m going to miss everything about it, my teammates, my coaches, the school the facility. I’m going to miss everything about it.”
T. Pitzer will compete in the preliminary heat of the boys 200-meter dash on Friday at 3:50 p.m. and if he advances to the final he will be racing on Saturday at 2:40 p.m.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.