Valley Catholic one of the 3A favorites

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Mikaela Bernards won four events at the Lewis and Clark District Meet on Saturday including 300-meter hurdles.

No stranger to big athletic stages and crucial championship games, Valley Catholic's Sara Connelly said she was surprisingly nervous in the moments leading up to the Lewis and Clark District Championships on Saturday.

A star soccer player who's played in two state title games and won one of them, Connelly — a track and field newbie — said the unfamiliar butterflies were floating as she locked in the starting blocks for the 4x100 relay at Catlin Gabel.

When the gun went off, however, the always clutch competitor rose to the challenge. Connelly ran a fast third leg before handing off to teammate and good friend Mikaela Bernards who ripped off the anchor segment of the race to give the Valiants a first place, 50.5 finish. With the win, and a slew of other standout performances, Connelly, Bernards and Valley won the LCD crown in runaway fashion, scoring a whopping 238.5 points.

“Since this is my first year it was scary, I was shaking a lot but it's really exciting,” said Connelly. “I'm super excited I get to run the 100 and the 4x100 with Mikaela, so it should be a good time. I get nervous at this event with only this amount of people, and I hear at Hayward the stands are filled and focused on you. I'm nervous, but really excited at the same time.”

The 4x100 squad of Connelly, Bernards, Reilly Blood and Gabby Rosenthal broke both their personal and school records in the process. The personal best was a tenth of a second better, something Bernards said is awesome to do in such a short race.

“Everyone's handoffs looked really good and we've practicing for this all week,” said Connelly. “And, our main goal was just to win.”

“We were ready to go today,” said Bernards. “Everyone was really focused. We were all really excited and we knew we wanted to get first and go to state.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Sara Connelly took second in the 100-meter dash and was part of the Valiant 4x100 relay that also took first at the Lewis and Clark District Meet on Saturday.

Bernards repeated her individual three-peat from a year ago, sweeping the 100-meter dash (12.92), 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles (47.12) and 4x100 relay (50.05). Three-stepping in the 100 hurdles for the second time all season, Bernards ran a 16.15 for first. And, in the 300's the senior and former soccer teammate Reilly Blood stayed together until the very end when Bernards edged ahead for the win. The senior said she's pumped to go down to Hayward Field this Thursday and Friday for the 3A State Championships with all her teammates and see if they clinch a team title.

“We all wanted to go together,” said Bernards. “Being at Hayward is always a great experience. Having the stands full is really exciting. You can feed off the energy that's there. There's a Jumbrotron at the end, so you get to see yourself. It's just really cool.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic senior Makenzee Cleveland helped the Valiants take first in the 4x400 relay at the Lewis and Clark District Meet on Saturday.

Connelly also qualified for state in the 100-meter dash (13.12) with a second place ribbon behind Bernards. Rosenthal took second in the 200 (27.08) while Makenzee Cleveland collected individual berths in the 400 (1:00.14) and 800 (2:34.38). Maricela Jaroch's 11:40 finish in the 3,000 sent the sophomore to state. Sophomore Ellen Koukel cleared 4-08 in the high jump for second place. Junior Ella Turkot took first in the triple jump (33-06) and second in the long jump (15-08) for the Valiants who placed second at state last year.

“We're definitely trying to get first as a team,” said Bernards. “It'd be a really good accomplishment for us. We just have to have everyone stay focused and work as a team to support each other through all our events.”

“It'd be great to win as a girls' team,” added Connelly. “We got second last year, so we'd obviously love to go up one and get first. We've worked hard for it, so I think we can do it.”

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine