Quaker Valley’s Claire Kuzma shows discus dominance

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Sunday, May 2, 2021 | 11:01 AM


As a sophomore two years ago, Quaker Valley’s Claire Kuzma placed fifth in the discus at the WPIAL Class AA championships with a throw of 118 feet and 1 inch.

She also qualified for the state meet where she placed seventh with a throw of 124-4.

Now, after missing a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kuzma is picking up right where she left off, and the senior is leading the charge for the Quakers.

“She’s placed first in discus in every one of our meets this season,” Quaker Valley track and field coach Jared Jones said. “I think she’s also hit the state qualifying standard each time as well. That doesn’t mean anything if she doesn’t do it at the individual championships, but she’s having a stellar season and she’s placed in the top two in the shot put in every single meet as well.”

Kuzma’s dominance was highlighted by her performance at the Butler Invitational on April 24.

Kuzma, who also contributed to the basketball team’s run to the WPIAL championship in the winter, won the discus at Butler with a toss of 123-5, which was 6 feet longer than second-place finisher Jing McCann from Fox Chapel. She also placed second in the shot put with a throw of 35-1, which was just over a foot less than the first-place finisher.

After attending the meet since she was a freshman, the Northeastern commit said it’s always been a goal to win that invitational.

“It’s always been really tough competition there, and I’ve always wanted to win the invite,” Kuzma said. “It felt really good to finally do it. It definitely gives me a little confidence, but every meet is different so I’m not going to let it get to my head too much. It was definitely nice to win it.”

Kuzma’s winning distance at the Butler Invitational wasn’t even her longest throw of the season. Jones said she’s also tallied a throw of 131-6, which is more than 6 feet further than her state meet throw two years ago.

Kuzma has continued to improve each meet, and Jones said it is something she’s done on a consistent basis.

“She’s either improving her throws or she’s a few inches off from her personal records, which is impressive,” Jones said. “I tell kids all the time when they don’t do better than the previous meet, that that’s not normal. Whenever you do really well, you might have to wait a few weeks or even a few meets to outdo yourself. But with Claire it’s like every meet, at least in one of the two events, that she’s setting a personal record for herself, which is just crazy to see.”

The key to her constant improvement has been the work she puts in between meets. She said she’ll record herself throwing each meet and then will go over the video with her throwing coaches so they can pick out small things to improve on before her next meet.

With a year off, some might have expected Kuzma to drop off in terms of her distance on her throws or even her technique, but she believes the break may have helped her improve that much more heading into her senior season.

“With all the restrictions in place it allowed me to really focus on throwing and just keep improving,” Kuzma said. “I had three meets during the summer that I did, and they were pretty helpful in preparing me for this season.”

Despite her success, Jones said Kuzma has stayed humble in her approach. No matter how well she performs during each meet, she continues to help the rest of her team and the younger throwers improve.

“Even though she’s as good as she is, she is very humble and she’s always supporting her teammates and helping them get better as well,” Jones said. “Every time she goes out there, she puts on a show. It’s magical to watch her throw.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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