Cornell sets sights on golden finish to career

Elm Creek's Claire Cornell sprints down the long jump runway on May 10, 2018 (KHGI)

As the sun starts to set on Claire Cornell's high school track career, the Elm Creek Buffalo star continues to add triumphs to her name, claiming nothing but gold in her four district track and field events.

This year, she's competing at state in the 100 meter dash, 300 meter hurdles, the high jump and long jump.

"I've added a few new events that I haven't done since junior high," Cornell said.

The senior has won the Class D long jump in each of the last two years, including a then Class D state and meet record in 2017 with an 18 foot, 4.75 inch jump, plus a 300 meter hurdle gold medal from lane 2 last year. Cornell wants to close out her career with some more bling.

"You could say that there's a lot of pressure on me this year and that would make sense, but I think it's a lot more determination and challenge to push myself because ultimately I have a goal at the end of the season and that's all I'm trying to work for," said Cornell.

Cornell’s road to the 2018 state meet has been filled with many big achievements, including a new personal record in the long jump, getting 18 feet, 7.75 inches at the Shelton Invite, topping her previous Class D state record. She also made herself standout at the Fort Kearney Conference championships, taking first in three different events, while setting a meet record in the 300–meter hurdles.

"It's one of those things where she compares herself to amazing athletes and like I said every time she comes out of a meet and doesn't have her personal best she still is really, really hungry and really looking forward to the next competition and that's something you have to love about her," head coach Mike Ford said.

Cornell qualified for the best performance in the long jump and 300 hurdles in Class D, while tying for second in the high jump and third in the 100 meter dash. She signed a National Letter of Intent to compete at Concordia University next fall as a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and as a track and field member.

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