Abram Hagedorn fifth at state meet

J. Patrick Eaken

Clay senior Abram Hagedorn has been through a lot during his four years of high school, but he finished the career with the swim of his life.

Abram broke the 50-second barrier in the Division I state meet at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, finishing fifth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 49.88. That is over a half second better than his district time (50.5).

“It was really a fun time. It was my first time at state, actually. It was sweet — unexplainable,” Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn says standing on the podium with the state’s best D-I swimmers was an honor.

“My mom and so many people did a lot of praying for me and it went a lot better than I could have expected, and I broke 50 for the first time. It’s sweet — you know you have done something.”

Akron Firestone sophomore Jonny Marshall (47.41) won the championship, followed by St. Francis sophomore Scott Buff (47.48), Cleveland St. Ignatius senior Tyler Hong (49.02) and Cincinnati Sycamore junior Avery Clapp (49.44). Marshall’s time was just over a second behind the state meet record time of 46.28 set by Sycamore’s Carson Foster in 2019.

Clay swim coach Rod Gyurke said in his four years at the helm he has not seen any of his swimmers place as high as Hagedorn.

“It was a phenomenal race. I’m just really proud of him,” Gyurke said. “He just trained really hard this season, he was very confident in his swim, and he was relaxed before the race and it just all came together for him. 

“Breaking the 50-second mark is incredible, so it was a great finish to his career at Clay. I am excited to see he is going to swim for Notre Dame College in Cleveland — so excited to follow him from a distance and to see how he does in college.”

Hagedorn has had to fight through adversity — his freshman year his father passed away and he had to leave the school, so he did not swim. Last year, he had to fight through an illness at the district meet and this year COVID affected his ability to train. So, he turned to other ways of training, and it paid off.

“This year, especially, I have worked a lot harder,” Hagedorn said. “I got through a weightlifting program where I built a lot more muscle and strength to my body, so that helped me rapidly improve a lot faster than I have in the previous years. 

“And then, last year at districts I had chicken pox, so I wasn’t up to full strength at my district meet, and then this summer we had COVID and we lost school time, but we found time to lift and that helped my swimming a lot.”

Hagedorn attends Toledo School for the Arts, which allows him to swim for Clay. He currently plans to major in finance at Notre Dame.

However, he will continue to swim under the tutelage of a Gyurke family member at Notre Dame — the head coach is Stephanie Gyurke, who is Rod’s niece, the daughter of Rod’s brother Ron.

In 2020, her third season as head coach of the program, Stephanie led Notre Dame to its first ever Mountain East Conference title, totaling 811 points. She was named MEC Coach of the Year.

Rod and Ron both swam for Colonel Crawford, and Rod’s nephew, Sandusky St. Mary senior Dan Gyurke, placed fifth at state in the D-II 200 medley (1:56.03), 11th in the 100 backstroke (1:00) and was part of the Panthers’ state-qualifying 200 medley relay team.

Clay also had a second state qualifier, junior Joslyn Jurski, in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 freestyle. After finishing as district runner-up in both events, she did not reach the podium at the state meet, but coach Gyurke says she has set that goal for her senior year.






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