By ERIC X. VICCARO
FARMINGTON — The spotlight shone bright on Valle Catholic High School junior Luke McClure at the Simpson Relays this past Friday at Haile Stadium.
McClure and the rest of the Warriors sheared the competition — winning the meet with 111 points, 24 more than Festus.
“When you are Class 1 school competing with all Class 3, 4 and 5 schools, the goal isn’t winning the meet,” said Valle Catholic head coach Samer Zoughaib. “The goal is to improve. But, I am not going to lie, it was awesome to win it.”
McClure earned four gold medals as part of a dominating performance in the dashes (100 meter, 200) and relays (400 and 1,600).
“Relays are huge for our team,” Zoughaib said. “They help build a family, all you have to do is watch our kids when we run the 4×400 (1,600), even the throwers were sprinting from side to side to cheer the boys on.”
McClure clocked in with a time of 11.44 seconds to win the 100, less than one-tenth of a second faster than teammate Cory Stoll. The same Warriors went one-two in the 200 with respective times of 23.04 and 23.25.
He then blazed a 400-meter relay trail in 45.29 — with teammates Sam Drury, Bryce Giesler and Stoll — about one-half of one second faster than a foursome from Perryville. McClure joined Josh Hoog, Mitchell Meyer and Jordan Bales to win the 1,600 relay (3:36.63, 4.4 seconds faster than Potosi).
Stoll also produced a stellar day in individual events, also taking second place in long jump, marking at 6.31 meters. (Keep in mind, Missouri has transitioned to using metric rather than standard measurements this year).
Sam Drury earned bronze medals in a pair of events, the high jump and the 110 high hurdles. Drury marked at 1.72 in the high jump and raced in with a hurdles time of 17.54. He also took sixth in the 300 intermediate hurdles (46.08).
The distance medley relay (3,200) recorded a third-place finish with the quartet of Josef Flieg, Jordan Bales, Peter Roth and Hoog clocking in at 8:44.42 — about 11 seconds behind Ste. Genevieve.
Other top boys’ finishers were turned in by Jordan Bales (fourth, 300 hurdles), 800-meter relay group of Meyer, Giesler, Bales and Eli Fallert (fifth), Hoog (fifth, 800 run), Roth (sixth, 1,600).
Eli Fallert also grabbed three points for the Warriors in the pole vault with a career-best mark of 3.04m.
The shear strength of competition proved to be a problem for the Valle Catholic girls, who finished 11 as a team.
It’s not easy when you are facing high-enrollment schools such as DeSoto, Farmington and Class 6 powerhouse Parkway Central.
However, Ella Bertram continues to dominate in the shot put, recording a mark of 10.98m for the gold medal.
Bertram was 1.2m better than Madison Patrick of Windsor.
Sam Loida earned a fourth-place finish in the 400, fifth in the 200 and she was on two relays that scored points for Valle Catholic.