Sunday, May 19, 2024

Artrip, Calvey, Polman claim CVC titles for Independence

INDEPENDENCE—Independence’s young track teams took a big step forward with a strong performance at the 2015 Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division track meet at Stan Skoczen Stadium on Thursday.

The Blue Devils’ boys’ team finished third while the girls were fifth, leading Independence to a fourth place finish overall. Wickliffe was the overall team champion as its boys’ team finished first and its girls were second. Beachwood won the girls’ division.

“This year we have more girls out for the team than ever before but we’ve got a lot of youth and inexperience,” said Independence coach Craig Polman. “We had four seniors last year and even though that doesn’t sound like a lot of people, they were big contributors. They were four-year letter winners. They were conference champions multiple times. That was a lot of points we had to replace this year.”

Sophomores Ben Artrip and Tyler Polman and senior Brian Calvey claimed individual CVC titles for Independence.

Artrip won the high jump for the second consecutive season with a cleared height of 5 feet, 6 inches. He also placed second in the discus (135-4) and fifth in the pole vault.

Polman won the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:56.03 and placed second to Wickliffe’s Jesse Sidhu in the 1600. The two runners also split those events last year with Polman winning the mile and finishing second to Sidhu in the 3200.

After Sidhu edged him out in the mile on Thursday Polman told his coach he was going to break the 10-minute mark in the two-mile.

“He was locked in a battle,” said Coach Polman. “The 1600 was the event he won last year, so he certainly wanted to defend his title. The race didn’t unfold quite like he would have liked it to. I think he was mad at himself and determined to go out there and push the pace and make a statement. That’s exactly what he did.”

Calvey, who won CVC titles in the 400-meter dash in 2012 and 2013 and also placed second in the 100 and 200 as a sophomore and second in the 100 as a freshman, didn’t compete in the CVC meet last year.

This year, due to a nagging hamstring injury, he competed only in the 800-meter run and cruised to the league title with a time of 2:02.35.

“Brian has been battling injuries now for the last three seasons,” Polman said. “He certainly has the talent to go out there and compete. It’s just a matter of getting him healthy enough to race. I think we would have been in the mix on the boys’ side if we had a healthy Brian Calvey and could be running him in the sprint events. If we could put him in the 100, 200, 400 and one of the relays it certainly would have helped things a lot today.”

Senior Amanda Pucella and freshmen Christina Brunsman and Mason Crist earned runner-up finishes for the Blue Devils.

Pucella cleared 8-feet in the pole vault while Brunsman recorded a 15-foot, 9 ¾ inch long jump and Crist finished the 110-meter hurdles in 17.57 seconds.

Brunsman, who also placed fifth in the 100-meter dash and ran a leg for Independence’s fourth place 4×100-meter relay team, is relatively new to the long jump.

“She just started long jumping maybe three or four weeks ago, so she doesn’t have a lot of experience,” Polman said. “She has certainly all the raw skills necessary to be successful at it. It was just kind of putting her out there in a situation and getting some good results and then continuing to work on it a little more.”

Crist, who also plays baseball at Independence, finished fourth in both the long jump and 300-meter hurdles and placed eighth in his first attempt at the high jump.

“Mason had a pretty good meet,” Polman said. “He’s a very athletic kid. He could be an outstanding track talent. Unfortunately for us he chose baseball as his primary sport this season. His biggest issue right now is conditioning. He had a great success in middle school just going out and doing things on natural ability. He’s finding out at the high school level there are a lot of kids that are pretty athletic. When you’re a freshman, they’re two or three years older than you and you’ve got to work hard if you want to have success.”

Both the boys’ and girls’ 4×800-meter relay teams finished second.

Seniors Amanda and Ashley Pucella and sophomores Maria Sagi and Dana Zaccardelli competed for the girls while seniors Adam Anielski, Ethan Blaze and Shane Mathew and Polman ran for the boys.

Zaccardelli sat out the second day of the CVC meet due to an issue with her hip flexor.

“She did run the 4×8 on Tuesday but she’s been having some hip flexor issues and we decided to rest her this meet,” Polman said. “Certainly our distance crew on the distance side would have been a little stronger but the others backing her up were able to score some points and contribute to a traditional strength of ours.”

Other point scorers for Independence included Colin Jedrzejek (4th in the pole vault), Ellie Clymer (4th in the pole vault and 5th in the 100-meter hurdles), Rachel Brocco (6th in the long jump), Daniela Radujkovic (4th in the discus and shot put), Lauren Grande (6th in the discus), Brooke Nelson (6th in the 100-meter hurdles and 5th in the 300 hurdles), Sagi (4th in the 1600 and 4th in the 3200), Mathew (3rd in the 1600), Ashley Pucella (4th in the 300-meter hurdles), Amanda Pucella (4th in the 800), Anielski (3rd in the 800), Jesse Belitz (6th in the 200), Lauren Taras (6th in the 3200) and Blaze (4th in the 3200).

The girls’ 4×1, 4×2 and 4×400 meter relays finished fourth, fifth and third, respectively, while the boys’ 4×1 and 4×2 both finished fifth and the 4×4 team finished fourth.

Brunsman, Ashley Henderson, Olivia Jones and Nelson ran the 4×1 for the girls while Brunsman, Henderson, Jones and Ashley Pucella ran the 4×2 and Nelson, Amanda and Ashley Pucella and Taras competed in the 4×4.

Belitz, Dominic Durdella, Alex Nelson and Ryan Zygmunt ran the 4×1 for the boys while Belitz, Durdella, Zygmunt and Kevin Clymer competed in the 4×2. Anielski, Belitz, Clymer and Zygmunt ran in the 4×4 relay.


Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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