BEDFORD: Keeping with tradition, the St. Vincent-St. Mary track and field teams will be well represented at the Division II state meet next weekend in Columbus.
The Fighting Irish won both the girls and boys regional team titles on a sunny and hot Saturday at Bearcat Stadium in Bedford.
“The big key is the amount of qualifiers to state,” St. V-M coach Dan Lancianese said. “We wanted to try and build upon what we did last year in the events. How many events we could qualify to Columbus is important. Last year we sent both the guys and girls down with eight events each. This year we will be sending down eight in the guys and 11 in the girls.”
The St. V-M boys will be trying to repeat as state champion at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and the Irish girls will be attempting to improve upon last year’s third-place finish.
The top four in each event automatically qualify for the state meet.
St. V-M’s girls scored 100 points and the Irish boys scored 90 points.
“I think this was a good precursor to state because both of the teams really want to win as a team,” Irish senior Tessa Weigand said. “Getting as many events down there and winning is obviously a good thing.”
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy finished second in the team standings with the Royals girls totaling 61 points and the boys compiling 65 points.
“The weather was nice today,” Irish junior Chelsea Laury said. “It was better than Thursday’s. As a team, I think everyone came out ready to run and there was not any negativity on the team. That helps a lot.”
Weigand (800 meters, 2:12.56) and junior Marissa Rossetti (3,200, 11:19.68) won individual events for the Irish girls.
Seniors Patrick O’Brien (1,600, 4:20.18) and Sean Poholski (800, 1:53.58) led the Irish boys with individual titles.
“We are excited about next week,” O’Brien said. “This just shows how hard we work. The sprinters and the distance runners are like separate units, but we all come together to do this, to win as a team. The girls and boys are both that way.”
Irish junior Mick Iacofano won the 3,200 in 9:47.17.
“This is a great accomplishment for all of us,” Iacofano said. “It is going to be really fun. Hopefully we all do well down there and achieve all of our goals for the season.”
The St. V-M boys won the 800 relay in 1:27.27. Junior Franshon Bickley, sophomore Parris Campbell, senior Tyler Bischof and senior Matt Matuska formed the unit.
“It is incredible to see all these wins,” Poholski said. “After winning the state championship last year with all the seniors that we had and the leadership that was on that team, I didn’t think we would be anywhere near as successful this year as we were last year. The upperclassmen have really taken charge and been good leaders. Even the underclassmen have been mature. Everyone knew from the beginning we could be part of something special.”
Matuska also anchored the St. V-M 400 relay that finished first in 42.13. Bickley, Campbell and senior Sae’Von Fitzgerald ran the first three legs.
“I have the easiest job, really,” Matuska said. “They do everything. I just have to finish it. Props to my teammates for building the lead and allowing me to finish.”
Laury, freshman Imani Davis and sophomore Julia Mendiola contributed on St. V-M’s victorious 800 relay (1:41.14) and 1,600 relay (3:52.89). Junior Kyla Crater ran on the 800 relay and Weigand rounded out the 1,600 unit.
Buchtel senior Romello Cook won the 110 hurdles in 14.55 and Tuslaw senior Tim Makowski triumphed in the shot put at 52 feet, 3¾ inches.
Streetsboro sophomore Destiny King (100 hurdles, 14.84 seconds), CVCA freshman Sammy Bockoven (1,600, 5:04.93) and Triway junior Tessa Brooks (300 hurdles, 44.42) also won girls crowns.
The Canton South girls 400 relay took first with senior Alexis Lancaster, sophomore Sydney Vaughn, sophomore Taylor Thompkins and junior Imani Bush combining for a time of 49.05 seconds.
CVCA freshman Autumn Young (long jump, 17-9), senior Sarah MacIntosh (3,200, 11:25.13) and sophomore Evan Carroscia (300 hurdles, 39.57) all placed second.
Other area athletes who took second were Laury (400, 56.58), St. V-M sophomores Marie Hammer (300 hurdles, 45.22) and Parris Campbell (boys 100, 10.92), Crestwood’s Karlie Lieberth (800, 2:16.56), Orrville senior Nicole Gregor (100 hurdles, 14.94) and Streetsboro senior Alex Todd (boys shot put, 51-6).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.