McClafferty to attend Holy Cross
Marian’s Emma McClafferty will attend College of the Holy Cross, where she will be a member of the track and field team. Seated with McClafferty, at left, are her mother Casey Daubenspeck and her grandfather Mickey Kohan. Standing, from left, are principal Jean Susko, track and field head coach Justin Huegel and athletic director Stan Dakosty. PATRICK MATSINKO/TIMES NEWS
Emma McClafferty isn’t one to seek the spotlight.
But the Marian senior’s performances have certainly attracted plenty of attention.
McClafferty captured her first state medal with a sixth-place finish in the Class 2A discus at the PIAA Track and Field Championships this past spring in her second trip to Shippensburg.
The result continued a trend of steady improvement for McClafferty, who also won her second district gold in the event a year ago and announced Friday she would be continuing her track and field at College of the Holy Cross.
“I think for me, the biggest thing I can say that’s exciting about it, is that it’s a culmination of the work she puts in paying off,” said Marian track and field head coach Justin Huegel. “Her biggest thing is you’ll never know how much work she actually puts in behind the scenes. There are a lot of times I’d be at practice with her and she’d tell me she was throwing all weekend, she’s going to camps, and I had no clue. So the work that was put in prior to that, has just led up to this point.”
McClafferty’s steady rise hasn’t been a surprise, but the opportunity to throw for a Division 1 program wasn’t her primary focus when she arrived at Marian.
“Even when I was younger, I always thought I’d be focused on basketball, basketball, basketball,” McClafferty recalled. “Then when I came to high school it was like, ‘Wow, I’m better at track. Lets’ focus on that.’
“I still do a lot of basketball stuff. Maybe in the past I would go to basketball. But now I’ll go to open gym, then go throw for an hour or two.”
As a freshman, McClafferty made her presence felt by capturing district gold in the discus as the fourth seed.
“Thinking back to Emma’s freshman year, we always knew she had talent, we always knew she had potential, but she always found a way to surprise us,” Huegel said. “When she placed at districts her freshman year and made it to states, that was something we knew she was capable of, but we didn’t expect it at any point and time”
After not qualifying for states as a sophomore, McClafferty nailed down personal bests when it mattered most last season. She won districts with a throw of 117-11.
She saved her best for last, hitting 125-10 to reach the podium as the 11th seed at states.
“One of the really cool things about that also, is that she was one of our first medalists for throwing events in years,” said Huegel. “So to see not only the work pay off for that, but to see her take our school, our program from where it’s been, showing lots of success at the league and district level, and then having that paying off at the state level, is a testament not only to her, but to all the coaches that have helped her along the way, as well as what the program has been able to do in order to get our athletes in that position.
“We talk about it all the time, that last year is now going to be a launching point. So where she was at last year is only going to be where we’re expecting her to come in (this year). I always like to tell the kids, their best is still out there, and we’re firm believers that her best is still out there, and the best is still yet to come for her. So going into this year, being her senior year, the sky’s really the limit, especially with the worry, and maybe the anxiety of deciding on college out of the way. She has a clear slate, and now she’s good to go to focus on whatever she needs to.”
Also an outstanding student, McClafferty will study biology/pre-medicine at Holy Cross.
“I was looking at most of the schools in the Patriot League, like Bucknell and Lafayette, all of those schools,” said McClafferty. “But I think for me, it (Holy Cross) was just a smaller school, a nice atmosphere. They have a really good medical program.”
With her future well in hand, McClafferty is ready to focus on her final season at Marian.
“I’m feeling good coming into it, but also I don’t want to get too confident, and obviously I’d like to have even better results than before,” said McClafferty. “I think just being at Marian has helped me. I was a bit quiet, coming out of my shell. I try to help everyone else also.
“I just want to say thank you to all my friends and family, coaches, everyone that’s helped me along the way.”