Monday, April 19, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Wiesler Finishes Cross Country Career with All-State Senior Season

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Senior captain Clara Wiesler finished her career with the Guilford girls’ cross country team by helping the Indians claim their third-straight SCC crown this fall. Clara earned both All-Conference and All-State honors on behalf of the Indians. Photo courtesy of Clara Wiesler

Senior captain Clara Wiesler finished her career with the Guilford girls’ cross country team by helping the Indians claim their third-straight SCC crown this fall. Clara earned both All-Conference and All-State honors on behalf of the Indians. (Photo courtesy of Clara Wiesler )

Clara Wiesler recently crossed the finish line on an exceptional career with the Guilford girls’ cross country team. In fact, Head Coach Jim Ford says that Clara is “pound for pound, the best runner I’ve ever had.”

Clara overcame a nagging Achilles tendon injury that sidelined her throughout the summer in order to have a solid senior season for the Indians. After helping Guilford win its third-straight SCC title and then place fourth at states, Clara competed among Connecticut’s best at the State Open Championship in her final high school cross country race.

It meant a lot to Clara that she was able to contribute so much to the Indians this year, especially since she faced a little bit of uncertainty coming into the campaign.

“My training was really limited. I didn’t do any pavement running throughout the season. I stayed to grass and turf,” Clara says. “Not being able to run for a little over two months bummed me out mentally. I then became so motivated once I was able to train and run again.”

Clara and the Indians posted an undefeated record during the regular season this fall. Then at the SCC Championship, Clara earned a third-place finish to lead Guilford to the SCC crown for the third year in a row.

“Who could forget that day?” says Clara. “It had rained the day before. The course was muddy. We also had to deal with strong winds blowing in off of New Haven Harbor. It was a true test.”

Clara followed up her strong showing at the SCC meet by taking fourth place at the Class MM State Championship, where the Indians finished in fourth place as a team. Clara garnered All-SCC accolades in all four years of her high school career and was a three-time All-State honoree.

“I’m happy with what I was able to do this past season,” Clara says. “It wasn’t my best year. Still, it was great being a captain and helping the team do as well as it did.”

Clara got an early education in running since both of her parents, Anna Pyle and Bill Wiesler, are avid runners. However, Clara didn’t initially like running that much.

“I remember running with my mom when I was eight years old,” says Clara. “Actually, I hated it at first. I think I felt that way because I was holding her up.”

When she was nine years old, Clara and her mother competed in the Run for The Cove, a 5K race that goes through Guilford and Madison. Clara also did trail and road running with her dad.

In addition to cross country, Clara competes for the girls’ indoor and outdoor track teams at Guilford. Coach Ford knew that Clara was going to be a strong runner when she joined the cross country squad as a freshman.

“For a small person, Clara is a hard-minded runner,” Ford says. “She’s all heart. She’s a give-it-all, all-the-time type of kid.”

Clara likes taking courses in the sciences and math at Guilford. She wants to pursue a degree in chemistry at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and is already looking forward to running at the school.

“This past fall, the Vassar women’s team qualified for the NCAA Division III nationals for the first time,” says Clara. “They placed 25th. I can’t wait to get there and be a part of their team.”

However, before she heads off to college, Clara still has two more seasons of running at Guilford in front of her. Clara does the 1,600 and 3,200 for the Indians’ track teams. A true distance runner, Clara says the 3,200 is her favorite.

“I’m not a big fan of the 1,600, because it’s too short of a race,” Clara says. “I prefer the 3,200.”


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