CORTLAND — Sweat poured, blood poured and records fell in the scorching sun on Saturday as Girard put in a strong showing at the Division II district track meet in Lakeview.
Both the Indians men’s and women’s teams finished in the top four in the team standings with many athletes advancing to the Division II regional meet next week in Austintown Fitch.
Two highlights of the encounter were the Malito siblings, second year Mia and senior Dominic, who each won the high jump and long jump events. Dominic did so by setting the district meet record in both events with a jump of 6 feet 3 inches in the high jump and a jump of 22 feet 9.25 in the long jump.
“We’re really excited to go to regionals,” Mia said. “We know there is going to be a lot of competition, but I think if we continue as we are then we will be good.”
Mia also shone on the track, as a member of the winning 4×200 relay team and the runner-up 4×400 relay team for Girard.
In relays, each rider must complement the other on the track – some may be better at the start, some may be better in the corners, and some may be at their best in the clutch down the home stretch. But every game is vital to a winning relay team.
“We all believe in each other, so that’s a big thing,” Mia said. “We want everyone to come out and do their best, so we push each other in practices and encourage each other before we race.”
Mia knows, however, that the jump in competition from districts to regionals will be steep, so preparation for the running and jumping events will be key.
“You have to be consistent in your approach to the high jump and the long jump and you have to master the form,” Mia said. “(In running) you work on speed drives and are able to finish. You want to be able to maintain speed throughout the race and finish strong.
Dominic also qualified for regionals as part of the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams in third place. The top four in each event qualify for the regionals.
Mia’s junior relay teammate Sieasia Triplett also qualified individually by winning the 400m by just under a second, clocking 59.63.
“I knew I had to finish, I wanted to make it to regionals,” Triplett said. “I just had to keep pushing myself.”
At the third corner, Triplett was grouped into a group behind the leader. But his closing speed allowed him to get ahead and finally pull away in the final stretch.
“I had to maintain my speed the whole way through and I couldn’t get out too slow because I might not have been able to (get back in),” Triplett said.
Elsewhere for Girard, senior distance runner Ricky Marsico won the 800m, breaking the district meet record with a time of 1:55.81. Marsico also qualified for regionals as part of the 4×400 relay and 4×800 relay teams.
The Indians boys 4×200 relay team finished fourth (1:34.04).
Garfield’s Stoller excels in hurdles and long jump
Garfield senior Ryan Stoller is a firm believer that form and technique are just as important as athleticism and speed when it comes to hurdles.
“You have to be a different kind of competitor,” he said. “At the end of the 300, if you don’t have good shape, people who have good shape who are close to you are going to get you. You have to be disciplined. You have to want it – hurdles are such a fine move, where a little slip costs you, so you really have to be perfect every day.
Stoller’s form was excellent on Saturday, as he won the 300 hurdles (39.81) and was second in the 110 hurdles by just two hundredths of a second.
“I did the PR [personal record] in both events, so it’s a good day either way,” said Stoller. “Both were lifelong public relations for me. It feels good to move on. »
Hurdles aren’t Stoller’s only events, however, as he also qualified for regionals in the 200m taking fourth place (22.93) and the long jump finishing second.
Stoller wasn’t the only Garfield athlete to leave her mark – senior Zoe Turner was third in the 100 (13.44), second in the 200 (27.17) and second in the 400 (1:00.40), while senior Riley Laporte and junior Jesse Grace finished second and third respectively in the discus throw. Laporte was also a finalist in the shot put.
REMARKS: The Lakeview girls finished third in the team standings with 98 points, while the Garfield boys took fourth place in their respective standings with 70 points… The Lakeview girls won the 4×100 relay (51.18) , were second in the 4×800 relay with a time of 10:08.90 and fourth in the 4×200 relay…Champion’s Mattie Fell was third in the 100 hurdles…Landan Bates of Hubbard was third in the boys’ 110 hurdles…Stasia Hall of Lakeview was second in the 300 hurdles (48.01)…Emily of Lakeview Bennett was third in the 3200m (12:44.49)…Champion Kennedy Grace was second in the discus throw.