Weekly Feature



2018-06-07 / Sports

EA’s Molly McLaughlin earns fifth trip to state track championships


East Aurora’s Collan Zimmerman leads a pack of competitors toward the finish line en route to winning his preliminary-round heat of the Division II 400-meter dash during Friday’s Section VI Track and Field Championships. Zimmerman came back to Niagara Falls Saturday to ultimately place second overall in the event with his time of 50.83 seconds. 
Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com East Aurora’s Collan Zimmerman leads a pack of competitors toward the finish line en route to winning his preliminary-round heat of the Division II 400-meter dash during Friday’s Section VI Track and Field Championships. Zimmerman came back to Niagara Falls Saturday to ultimately place second overall in the event with his time of 50.83 seconds. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com East Aurora’s track and field team traveled to Niagara Falls this past weekend to take part in the annual Section VI Championships, and a large number of Blue Devils turned in outstanding performances over the course of the two-day event.

Leading the way for East Aurora by claiming the first of several sectional titles for the program was Molly McLaughlin, who won the Division II 800-meter run to earn her fifth trip to the state championships. Ian Russ also captured first in the boys’ 3,200 with his sizable victory over the runner-up finisher.

Eighth-grader Megan McLaughlin also stamped her ticket to the state championships in the 3,000 run, with the second-place finisher – indoor track teammate Riley Jones from Holland – just behind her. Megan McLaughlin’s time, a career-best 10:21, was well under the state qualifying standard that allows for a second qualifier.

Molly and Megan joined forces with sister Maggie McLaughlin and Ava Danieu in the 4x800 relay, where East Aurora’s foursome gave East Aurora its 18th consecutive sectional title in the event. A short time later, Molly and Megan joined with non-sister Maddie McLaughlin and freshman Celia Cocca in the 4x400 relay for what coach Walt McLaughlin called “one of the most exciting races of the day” against sprint powerhouse – and defending champion – Tapestry, as well as Division II newcomer and crosstown rival Iroquois. It was a nail-biter from start to finish, coach McLaughlin said, with Cocca holding off the other two charging teams to take the title.

East Aurora’s final state qualifier was Collan Zimmerman in the 400 dash. Having hit the state qualifying standard earlier this season, Zimmerman punched his ticket by placing second.

There were many other strong performances at sectionals, including Madison Palmer, who missed qualifying by just half an inch in the shot with a throw that broke her sister’s school record; the boys’ 4x800 relay team of Parker Tent, John Lyons, Jack Watson and Russ – who were well under the state standard with their season best performance but finished third even with a time of 8:08 – and tenth in the 800. The Cassidy crew of Colin and Emma represented East Aurora well in the pentathlon.

“Our squad has done a great job preparing for this weekend,” coach McLaughlin said. “It should be exciting seeing our athletes compete against the best in the state in hopes of bringing home some gold and some great experiences.”

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