On May 4, the Maclay Marauders traveled to Jacksonville to compete in the FHSAA Class 1A regional championship. The boys got sixth place with a score of 57 points, while Pensacola Christian got first with 88 points. The Lady Marauders won by 50 points, getting first with a score of 156.50 and blowing the competition out of the water.

“This season was so fun, but I’m going to definitely miss my last year getting to compete with my sister,” sophomore Mary Clayton Soto said. “I know she’s going to go on to do great things.”

Maclay started regionals off by sweeping the long vault event, taking the first three places with freshman Elizabeth Dowdy and seniors Sarah Caulley Soto and Riley Karpinski all getting 11’ ¾ feet. Freshman Payton Thumm placed 7th in pole vault with a score of 8’10 ½ feet. Senior McKenzie Jackson placed second in the javelin throw with a score of 97’3 feet, barely losing to first place by 2 inches. For the girls 400 meter dash, junior Rachel Bethke won first with a time of 57.63 seconds, which she followed up by getting second in the girls 200 meter dash with a time of 25.79 seconds. Sophomore Gracie Koeppel won the girls 3200 meter run for the Marauders. Maclay had some events where they could not participate because some athletes were absent. 

“I just wanted to stay positive and throw far for my last regional meet,” senior McKenzie Jackson said. “I’m sad for this to be my last regional meeting, but I’m glad that I get to compete at states for one final time.”

For the male Marauders, junior Raymond Vickers got fourth in the pole vault event with a height of 11’3 ¾ feet. In the boys long jump event, junior Shane Croston placed fifth with a distance of 20’5 ¼ feet. For the running events, junior Lucas Mauch placed ninth in the boys 1600 meter run, placing the highest in this event for Maclay. For the boys 3200 meter run, junior Clayton Knox came in a close third with a time of 9:54.89 minutes, losing to second place by only three seconds.

“I wasn’t expecting too much from my javelin and shot putt, but discus was another story, where I only got 3rd when I really wanted second,” senior Jakob Birken said. “I’m proud of where my hard work has gotten me. It’s put me at states twice now, and if anyone’s wondering, just trust the process and anything can happen.”

Maclay will now move on to states with the top two schools and the ten fastest times for each event. The state championship is next Wednesday, May 11, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.