Incoming l senior Erin McCoy returned from last month's trip to a national track and field meet, once again an All-American.
For McCoy, the trip to the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships held in Wichita, Kans. was her fourth straight competition at the national level.
Still, her fifth place accomplishment proved to be somewhat of a surprise: McCoy didn’t compete in an 800-meter race this past track season for the first time, then returned to the distance after Zephyrs coach Pat Wilson created a Young Women’s 3,200 relay team.
“I was like, ‘OK, good, but I’m not going to be a part of it.' But come the (June 24 USATF) state meet, I was anchoring it,” McCoy said.
“Ever since then, I’ve been running it. Actually it’s been really fun. They’re a great group of girls running it and we’ve become so close. I’m so glad (Wilson) talked me into it. She has her ways.”
On July 27, McCoy was joined on the relay by Downers Grove South’s Jackie Thate and Rebecca Stearns and recent Lyons Township graduate Stephanie Mogorovic, a late substitute after recent LT graduate Simone Bunsen pulled her hamstring competing in the heptathlon the previous day.
The Zephyrs came to nationals seeded 11th based on their winning regional time of 10:52.08, but McCoy contributed her fastest split (2:17) and Mogorovic ran 20 seconds faster than she did at regionals.
“The entire relay ran really awesome,” McCoy said. “I’ve never been on a (3,200 relay). It’s great to get All-American, even better as a team. I think what made it even better was we weren’t picked at all (to get top eight), and then to get fifth, top five in the country, was a huge accomplishment.”
In 2010, McCoy earned her first All-America medal by taking eighth in the 400 intermediate hurdles (1:06.52) in the Intermediate Girls division (ages 15-16).
McCoy built upon that for Fenwick at the IHSA state meet in May, finishing fifth in the shorter 300 low hurdles (45.02) -- the Friars' first all-stater in girls track for a top-nine finish.
This time at the USATF nationals, McCoy was 24th in the 400 hurdles (1:07.93) when she tripped over the first hurdle. McCoy also was part of the Zephyrs’ 1,600 relay that finished 11th (3:59.74), 3.84 seconds from the eight-team finals.
“I fell over the first hurdle so hurdles didn’t go very well. That’s kind of how hurdles are. You fall,” McCoy said. “Not the best meet to have it happen, but it happens. I could tell that my (starting) blocks weren’t set right. My steps were messed up for the majority of the race. It’s a good lesson to learn now.”
McCoy said another summer of training and national exposure makes her that much more enthusiastic about her senior season at Fenwick and competing in college.
Could next year include a return to the 800 or a spot on the 3,200 relay?
“You never know. I’m not sure, but after this one, the results and the split, I’m definitely thinking about it for sure,” McCoy said.
“I come back from nationals every year and say the same thing, just the experience, the crowd, being with the team. It brings you so much experience going into the high-school season (dealing) with the stress. To know you’ve been with the big meets before, it makes everything else easier.”