Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Blue Devils win Potopsky Invitational

INDEPENDENCE—Freshman Sam Belitz and junior Tyler Polman each won three events to lead Independence to the overall team title at the 2016 Dan Potopsky Invitational at Stan Skoczen Stadium on Tuesday.

Juniors Daniela Radujkovic and Dana Zaccardelli also contributed with individual event titles.

“That's awesome,” Radujkovic said of winning the overall team title. “We've been doing so well just facing very tough competition so it’s so nice to see all the work our whole team puts in finally showing in the results.”

Belitz won three events and placed third in another.

He won the high jump (6-1), 400-meter dash (53.42) and teamed up with juniors Jesse Belitz, Dominic Durdella and Adrian Pope to win the 4×400-meter relay in 3:37.90).

Belitz, Durdella, junior Jared McCullough and senior Nick Brunsman finished third in the 4×200-meter relay (1:36.69).

“In cold weather meets like this, the difference between first and second place is often recovery in between events,” Belitz said. “I made it a point to stay loose and hydrate well and doing that, along with fantastic teammates on my relays, made tonight very successful. It was especially fun tonight to finally be in a 4×4 with my brother, Jesse Belitz.”

Radujkovic won the shot put with a new personal record of 34-feet, 1-inch.

“I beat my personal record by over a foot,” she said. “I was very excited and felt good because I'm finally performing at the level I feel like I should. I hope I keep doing well for me and my team.”

She also finished eighth in the discus with a throw of 87-3.

Zaccardelli won the 3200-meter run (12:43.08) and finished third in the 1600 (5:50.62).

Polman won the 1600 and 3200-meter runs and combined with Jesse Belitz, sophomore Ryan Zygmunt and junior Kevin Clymer to win the 4×800-meter relay (8:52.84).

He ran the 1600 in 4:45.81 and the 3200 in 10:06.76.

“The meet went as planned today,” Polman said. “I knew that we would be competing for the title and took more time to prepare today. In the 4×800, I was especially proud of Ryan and Jesse who stepped it up and brought our team into the lead coming into the final leg. For the 1600, I felt smooth for most of the race, but need to improve on my middle two laps.”

Polman finished strong in the 1600 and recovered quickly enough to run an excellent time in the two-mile.

“With about 350 meters to go, I began to kick and finished with a strong final lap” Polman said. “In the 3200, I was extremely happy with my time. Coming off of anchoring the 4×800 and the running the 1600, I was happy to run consistent splits in the 3200 alone. Overall, I was extremely happy with my 800 split and 3200, but there is work needed to improve my 1600 in the coming weeks.”

Runners-up for Independence included freshman Robert Artrip in the pole vault (9-6), senior Ellie Clymer in the pole vault (8-0), junior Ben Artrip in the discus (128-4), McCullough in the 100-meter dash (11.5) and sophomore Alex Nelson in the triple jump (31-9 ½).

The boys 4×100-meter relay team of senior Kevin Mewhinney, Brunsman, Durdella and McCullough also finished second with a time of 46.02.

McCullough ran the 100-meter dash just over 2/10 of a second slower than the new school record he set on Saturday at the Weingart Relays at Cleveland Heights. He ran a time of 11.29 seconds in that race.

Independence’s third place finishers included junior Maria Sagi in the 3200 (13:02.44), Ben Artrip in the high jump (5-10) and shot put (44-4), Brunsman in the long jump (18-9 ½), freshman Maranda Sedlock in the long jump (14-3 ½), Pope in the 300 hurdles (45.79), freshman Emma Wensink in the 800 (2:43.28) and freshman Emelia Tresp in the triple jump (22-1).


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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