AHSTW senior Gage Clay (right) places fourth in the Drake Relays 100-meter dash Friday afternoon as West Liberty’s Tanner Iske crosses the finish line in first place. Clay’s time of 10.84 seconds was a new personal best. He was competing in his third Drake Relays 100 after placing 12th as a sophomore and 14th as a junior. (Photos by Mike Oeffner) AHSTW senior Jake Martin (left) and junior Korbin Martin complete the second exchange of the 4x100 relay, which placed 11th at the Drake Relays Friday.

Vikings’ Clay places fourth in Drake Relays 100

AHSTW senior clocks personal-best time despite tired legs; Vikings set school record in 11th place 4x100

 DES MOINES (April 27) -- Gage Clay and his AHSTW track teammates competed in just two events at the 2018 Drake Relays, but they certainly made the most of their opportunity to shine on the famed blue oval.
 One of the state’s fastest sprinters regardless of class, Clay added to his Viking legacy Friday with a medal-winning fourth-place finish in the boys 100-meter dash inside Drake Stadium.
 Clay, a senior, ran the third-fastest qualifying time in the morning by winning his preliminary heat in 11.17 seconds. He blazed even faster in the afternoon, placing fourth out of eight finalists with a personal-best time of 10.84.
 This was Clay’s third year as a Drake Relays qualifier in the 100. He placed 12th as a sophomore and 14th as a junior, so earning a medal in ‘PR’ fashion this time around provided a sense of accomplishment for Clay, even if he didn’t feel particularly great during the race.
 “It feels great [to medal],” he said. “I haven’t been able to (make) the finals yet so I feel like I came in a little bit nervous in the finals. I felt like I had to prove something to my friends, family and fan base. I felt like I had to come out and prove something for everyone.
 “It wasn’t my best race... I didn’t know I ran 10.84. I still felt slow out of the blocks. I didn’t feel strong in the whole 100.”
 A few hours later Friday, Clay looked as fast as anyone on the track, anchoring the Viking boys’ 4x100 relay to an 11th-place finish in 43.61 seconds - a new school record.
 Junior Drake Partridge, senior Jake Martin and junior Korbin Martin ran the first three legs of the race in fine fashion before Clay used a strong tailwind to burn past anyone ahead of him on the straightaway, giving AHSTW the win in heat 7. The Vikings entered Drake with the 49th-fastest time among 80 qualifiers before moving up 38 spots Friday night. Their time was just .06 away from qualifying for the event final on Saturday.
 AHSTW coach G.G. Harris clocked Clay’s 4x100 split time at an impressive 10.05.

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