Clay Middle School thrower unbeaten for career


Ellie Cooley has racked up some staggering numbers as a discus thrower for Clay Middle School’s track and field team.

Last year, Ellie broke a 40-year Hamilton County Middle School Track and Field Championships record with a throw of 103 feet, 7 inches. The previous record was 102 feet. She broke her own county meet record this season with a throw of 111 feet, 7 inches.

Ellie, 14, never lost in the discus in three seasons, compiling a 24-0 meet record, topping 69 teams and 316 individuals.

“Going into sixth grade, it didn’t seem like something I’d be able to do,” Ellie said. “Since I was unbeaten in sixth grade, I was hoping I could carry that through middle school.”

She was a three-time Hamilton County champion and won the City Meet against Creekside and Carmel Middle.

Her mother, Courtney Cooley, has coached Clay’s throwers for the last two years.

“As a mother, I am incredibly proud,” said Courtney, an instructional assistant at Clay. “As a coach, I am blown away. She works very hard and puts in a lot of hours.”

Courtney, whose maiden name is Smith, was a discus thrower at Clay Middle School and then attended Westfield High School. She made it to the regional her sophomore and junior years but had back surgery and wasn’t able to compete as a senior.

Ellie is now preparing for Carmel High School track and field career.

Ellie’s sister, Lilly Cooley, competed in the discus as a sixth-grader for Clay this past season.

“It was fun having her on the team, and she was able to compete at most of the meets,” Ellie said.

Courtney said Ellie is taking the summer off from competitive track to reform her technique so she can be ready for high school.

“We’re going to practice my spin a little more and make it more advanced,” Ellie said.

Ellie’s school discus record is 115 feet, 10 1/2 inches, which she set at the City Meet – which is also the City Meet record.

“I’m pretty excited for high school,” she said. “I know I will stack up decent against some of the other girls, but I also know I don’t have to worry about beating everyone. As a freshman, I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”

This past season, Ellie won the City Meet in the shot put and was fourth in the Hamilton County meet.

“Shot put is more brute strength and discus focuses a lot on technique,” Ellie said. “In discus, you can always improve yourself and your technique, which is what I like about it.”

Her goal as a freshman is to make it out of the sectional round in the discus.


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