Friday, September 29, 2023

Independence sends five to state

Led by Emmett Stralka, Independence advanced five athletes to the state track & field meet.

Stralka is headed to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in four different events after placing in the open 100 and 200, and two different relays.

He finished as the Division III Massillon Regional runner-up with a time of 11.05 seconds and he was third in the 200 in 22.30.

Stralka teamed up with Kyle Zygmunt, Jack Taliaferro, and Lucas Martinez to win the regional title with a new personal record time of 1:29.00. Stralka, Martinez, Taliaferro, and Deston Boscarelli placed third in the 4×100 with a time of 44.22 seconds.

Zygmunt also advanced to the state meet in the 400-meter dash. He finished fourth in 50.25.

Casey Adams will return to Columbus after she placed fourth in the long jump with a top distance of 16-feet, 5 ¼-inches.

Several other Chagrin Valley Conference athletes finished among the top eight at the Division III regional meet, but only the top four earned a state berth.

That group included Cardinal’s Lily Ayer (7th, 800, 2:25.98) and Mike Soltis (7th, shot put, 51-8 ¼); Cuyahoga Heights’ Bradyn Rusch (8th, 1600, 4:38.61); Grand Valley’s Maggie Waldo (7th, pole vault, 8-6); and Independence’s Alex Adams (7th, 100, 12.94), Skylar Leichliter (6th, pole vault, 8-6), and Alana Nowak (6th, 1600, 5:45.04).

Cardinal’s 4×400-meter relay team of Carly Ayer, Karalyn Rutkowski, Lauren Soltis, and Lily Ayer placed sixth in 4:13.87.

Rutkowski won the regional title in the high jump on Wednesday’s first day of regional action and will compete at the state meet. Cuyahoga Heights’ Jack Klamert also qualified for state in the pole vault.

Geneva’s Connor Boland placed fourth in the 400-meter dash in the Division I regional at Austintown Fitch. He finished that race in 48.79 seconds and will compete at the state meet next weekend.

West Geauga’s Matthew Dienes finished eighth in the 1600 at Austintown. He ran that race in 4:24.26.



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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