Written by Brandon George
Ursuline girls track and field going for fourth consecutive state title
The Ursuline girls track and field team’s seniors can leave Waco this weekend a perfect 4-for-4 in their high school careers.
Ursuline is favored to win its fourth consecutive title at the TAPPS track and field state meet Friday and Saturday at Baylor’s Hart-Patterson Track Complex. Field events begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, and the 3,200 meters starts at 6:15 p.m. Running finals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Ursuline is a TAPPS dynasty in girls track and field, having won 12 state team titles overall and nine of the last 11. If not for back-to-back second-place finishes, in 2006 and 2007, Ursuline would be gunning for its 12th consecutive state championship.
“We’re really lucky to have this senior class,” girls coach Jonathan Moody said. “Even as freshmen, they gave us about a quarter of our points and half of our team’s points as sophomores. It’s no coincidence that they’ll be going for the fourth state title in a row.”
Of the 17 girls who will compete at state for Ursuline, eight are seniors. The talented senior class is led by sprinter Stephanie Kalu and throwers Claire Uke and Aubrey Elliott.
Kalu is tied for eighth nationally and ranks second in the state in the 100 with a best time of 11.55 seconds. Kalu, who has orally committed to Georgia Tech, won at the Texas Relays and will be trying to break her TAPPS 5A state meet 100 record for a third straight season after posting a winning time of 11.91 last year.
Uke, who will throw for Rice next season, ranks third in the state in the shot put with a best of 45 feet, 2 inches. She’s won the TAPPS shot put state title the last three years and also won the discus state title in 2010. Elliott, who will attend Texas Tech next year, missed the state meet last year with an injury but ranks seventh in the area in the discus at 132-8.
Bishop Lynch’s girls will again be Ursuline’s top competition at state. Lynch finished second to Ursuline at state last year and has been second to Ursuline the last few weeks at the regional and district meets. Lynch advanced all three of its relay teams to state, with Ursuline only advancing its 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Lynch is led by standout senior 800 runner Caitlyn Noonan and sophomore Gabrielle Howard, the top seed in the long jump and triple jump.
“Bishop Lynch is usually the team we measure up against in just about all of our sports,” Moody said.