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Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 5/29/2014

Fabulous freshman, super seniors think state in track

Rossford’s Clay reaches regional in 4 events; Perrysburg’s Clody, Monheim still going strong

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Regan Clay was born to run.

It’s in her genes. It's been her environment.

It’s also not surprising to see the Rossford freshman make a first-year impact running high school track.

“I think she's been around track for so long that she understands track more than maybe some people do,” said Jamie Clay, Regan's father, who serves as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs.

Her first district meet was a memorable one, qualifying in four events to the Division II regional meet at Lexington. She won the 200 and 400-meter races and was a member of the winning 800 and 1600 relay teams.

Clay ran a meet-record 25.08 seconds in the 200, breaking the mark of 25.40 set in 1986 by Macomber's Collette Ellison.

The Clay family has had great success for Rossford.

Regan’s sister, Rachel, graduated from Rossford in 2009 owning several school records, as well as being a state qualifier three out of four years while running the 200 and 400. She ran at Miami University.

Her brother, Ryan, who graduated last year, was a two-time state qualifier as a middle distance runner. He runs at Purdue University.

“This has definitely been a great experience,” she said. “I never really thought I'd be this successful, but a lot of my teammates have really helped me out. So, it's been a really good year overall.”

However, her success has not come as big of a surprise to others.

“We saw some stuff in junior high, she was under 60 seconds in the 400,” her father said. “She's a 5-foot-2 high jumper and she long jumps over 16 feet.”

Rachel, who also plays volleyball and basketball, believes running has come along naturally.

“I've been running track my whole life, so I love the sport because I know it and I've always been with it,” Regan said. “[Rachel and Ryan] doing it definitely has been a part of how much I love it.”

She won the 400 at the district in 58.18, a little shy of the meet record of 57.31 set in 2008 by Rachel.

Running with 800 relay teammates Taylor Stolar, Jessica Pietrasz and Shelby Redway, Regan ran anchor and crossed the finish line for a time of 1:45.35. She ran with Shelby Redway, Taylor Stolar, and Pietrasz to win the 1600 relay in 4:07.08.

Regan has a great shot at qualifying for the state meet in at least one event, which would match what her sister did as a freshman. The top four finishers in each event at the regional meet will advance to the state meet in Columbus.

“Making it to state as a freshman would be a big deal,” Regan said. “It would definitely be a big accomplishment. It's something I've been looking forward to since I started in seventh grade. It's always been one of my biggest goals.”

Perrysburg seniors Taylor Monheim and Courtney Clody are looking to finish their careers with appearances at the state meet.

For Monheim, it would represent four straight years as a state qualifier, for Clody, three out of four seasons.

"Quite honestly, those are two girls who will end up in the Perrysburg athletic hall of fame," said Perrysburg assistant track coach Jon Monheim, Taylor's father. "They've been the program the last four years and they've taken the program to a whole new level."

Clody, who will run in college at Ohio State, owns the team record for the 1600 (4:59.25). She placed sixth at state last season in the event. She won last week’s district at 4:59.25, falling shy of the meet record of 4:59.11 set in 1999 by Clay's Jodi Harrington.

Monheim, who will run track at Grand Valley State University, is the team record-holder for the 3200 (10:54). She finished 11th at state in the event as a sophomore and 10th as a junior. She took last week’s district race in (11:21.56).

Both are members of the 3200 relay team that won the district. They also were members of last year’s relay team that established a team record time of 9:15 at the regional before finishing second at the state. That team also included Jordan Doore and Emily Wyrick.

Finishing runner-up has been a driving force for their senior seasons.

"Last year they took second in the 3200 relay and they went into state as the favorite," he said. "That was a crushing blow to them."

This year’s 3200 relay team of Doore, Monheim, Alexis Kemp, and Clody have the top qualifying time at 9:24.28 entering the regional.

Coach Monheim said the two are running as well as they've run during their careers. Part of their improvement this spring could be because of their training during the winter and spring with specialized workouts.

Taylor spent time working on improving her speed, while Clody has been working on building her overall strength to finish races with a strong push toward the end.

"Right now it's more about getting on the podium and placing and less about the time," coach Monheim said.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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