California’s Clancy catches a pair of golds

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BALDWIN – When Kailyn Clancy wants to get away from it all, she and her friends head down to a nearby creek and drop a line in to fish.


Clancy, a junior at California High School, never brings her catch home, electing to toss it back. With her talented right arm, that can be a dangerous proposition for the fish. It might accidentally land on the other side of the creek.


Clancy showed off that power by winning the shot put and discus in Class AA at the WPIAL Track and Field Championships Thursday at Baldwin High School.


The top five in Class AA and top four in Class AAA plus any athlete who met the qualifying standard in the event advanced to the PIAA Championships at Shippensburg University May 24-25.


The double win by Clancy punctuated a strong effort by local girls that included four gold medals. Alyssa Wise of Washington won the 100-meter dash in 12.18; and no one threw the javelin further than Jen Lucas of Fort Cherry, whose 145-8 effort was 18-3 better than the second place finisher.


There were many other sterling performances that didn’t result in gold medals, including Wise’s second-place finish in the 200 (25.15); Lucas’s silver medal in the discus (109-9), Amanda Balzer’s second-place finish in the 100 hurdles (15.67) for Chartiers-Houston, and Richelle Tharp’s third-place effort in the javelin (127-0) for Waynesburg.


But it was Clancy who led the charge.


Clancy put the shot 43-0 and the discus 112-5 to win her first WPIAL Class AA title in each event after finishing second last season. That’s sure to make news in the aquatic world.


“I fish for anything,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun for me. I always throw them back.”


Clancy’s shot put outdistanced the 38-11 of Shenango freshman Sarah Herb and the 38-6 of Anna Frengel of Neshannock.


“I’ve worked harder on my technique,” said Clancy. “I know I need to get better with my technique. I’m better in the shot put, and I like it better.”


Clancy edged Lucas in the discus by 2½ feet in the discus, and says she will compete in both when the PIAA tournament begins next Friday. Clancy said the goal is to win gold in each event.


“I was disappointed I got second last year,” said Clancy. “I’ve worked hard all year. I’m happy just to go to states.”


Wise traded wins with Ally Bartoszewicz of Vincentian Academy in the sprints. Wise won the 100 and Bartoszewicz was second. The order was reversed in the 200 with Bartoszewicz winning by .22 seconds.


“I’ll take this as long as it gets me to states,” said Wise, a junior. “This is the first time I ever raced (Bartoszewicz). I was pretty satisfied. She was coming in at 24.8 (in the 200), so I knew what to expect.”


Wise saw a chance for another gold medal go down with the baton that was dropped in the 400-meter relay. It came in the third turn when Aliyah Moye and Taj Gordon failed to make a clean exchange.


“We were trying to break 50 (seconds today),” said Wise. “We’ve been running in the 51s. Words just can’t describe how disappointing it is that we came this far and have something tragic happen. It really hurts.”


Lucas didn’t hit the 150s in the javelin as she did at last week’s Southern Qualifier, but it was still an impressive performance. She went 140, 138, 137 in the preliminary round but twice hit 145 in the finals. It surprised her because she hasn’t made her better throws on grass runways.


“I like runways more but this grass is fine,” said Lucas, who finished third, second and now first in the last three WPIAL Championships. “I just put on longer spikes. I was hoping for 150 but 145 is fine.”


Balzer was up against the defending state champion, Emily Lelis of Springdale, in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Balzer was second in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles, her weaker event of the two. Balzer ran 15.67 in the 100 hurdles and 47.91 in the 300 hurdles, missing the qualifying time by .3. Lelis easily won both events


Richelle Tharp of Waynesburg was third in the javelin (127-0), and South Fayette was third in the 3,200 relay (10:04.40) and fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:12.24).


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