Perry’s Brayden Richards, Brooklyn’s Jenna Young, and Beachwood’s Sarah Brown each won an individual title on the first day of the Division II Regional Track & Field Championships at Austintown Fitch High School on Thursday.
Richards won the pole vault with a state Top 10 mark of 15-feet, 4-inches, and will compete at next weekend’s state championships. His brother, Javin Richards, the defending Division II state champion, also qualified for the state meet by placing fourth with a best vault of 13-feet, 8-inches.
According to Chris Lillstrung of The News-Herald, the Richards are the 39th and 40th Perry pole vaulters to earn a berth in the state meet.
Orange’s Nicolas Lazar and Hawken’s Ethan Metz both cleared 12-8 to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, but only the top four advanced to the state meet.
Young, the defending state runner-up in the high jump, posted a state Top 50 mark in winning the event with a best jump of 5-feet, 3-inches to earn her second straight trip to state.
“I am very excited to be going back to states and to have my season be extended another week,” Young said. “I know this last week is all or nothing and I need to work and compete the way I know how to.”
With a loaded field, Young knew she had to be at her best to win the regional title, but she knows she has room for improvement.
“I definitely jump better with competition and girls jumping the same heights as me. It really pushes me to perform my best and jump what I know I can jump,” she said. “I did what needed to be done today to get the win. However, I know what I’m capable of and I’m not very satisfied but I’m going to work this week and work to do my best for states.”
Young is focused on peaking at the state meet with the goal of moving up one step on the podium.
“I plan to just walk into states with a clear mind and focus on high jump,” she said. “I know that anything can happen on any given day. I hope for good weather so everyone can perform to the best of their abilities. I will prepare mentally and physically to just perform my best.”
Lutheran West’s Evelyn Albers also punched her ticket to state by finishing third in the high jump with a top height of 5-2 and Hawken’s Amelia Zup scored in the event by finishing eighth with a mark of 4-10.
“Excited is an understatement,” Albers said of qualifying for the state meet. “I’ve been working hard all season, preparing for the opportunity to advance to the state meet. Now that I’ve accomplished that goal, I’m super excited to go and compete at state among the best jumpers.”
Albers has competed against Young and other top jumpers all season and that pushes her to aim higher.
“Jenna is a fantastic jumper and athlete so I’m always super honored to be able to compete beside her,” Albers said. “All season we have been battling each other with that 5-4 mark and I think that pushes both of us. I’m fully aware of the talent around me and I use that to push myself for next week as I attempt to PR at the state meet.”
While she’s pleased to have earned a position on the podium at the regional meet, Albers had loftier goals for herself.
“5-2 was not what I was expecting or wanting for this meet,” she said. “Knowing I could have performed much better pushes me for next week. It makes me want to come out and make a statement, show what I know I am capable of.”
Albers finished tied for ninth place at the state meet as a freshman in 2019. She’s confident that experience on the big stage will help her when she makes her return to Columbus next weekend.
“Next week, I want to give it my all,” she said. “I’ve been to the state meet before as a freshman, so I’m comfortable with the atmosphere and am prepared to perform to my best ability. A podium finish and All-Ohio honors is what I’m shooting for and couldn’t be more grateful and excited to be able to compete for it.”
Brown dominated in the shot put.
She posted a state Top 10 mark of 43-feet, 1 ½-inches to earn her state berth and regional title.
Edgewood’s Sarah Coxon (35-11 ½) and Beachwood’s Madison Tolbert (35-5 ¼) both scored in the event as they finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Beachwood’s Braylen Eaton also punched his ticket to state on the first day of the regional meet. He placed third in the long jump with a best leap of 21-feet, 1-inch.
Grand Valley’s Nathan Boiarski recorded a new PR in the vent as he jumped 20-feet, 9 ½-inches to finish fifth. Orange’s Michael Robinson finished eighth with a best jump of 19-8.
Two Chagrin Valley Conference relay teams are headed to Columbus.
Beachwood’s 4×800 team of David Steckner, Gregory Perryman, Noah Saidel, and Caleb Berns finished as the regional runner-up with a time of 7:59.05.
Chagrin Falls’ girls’ 4×800 team also finished as the regional runner-up and will compete at the state meet.
Bella Radomsky, Claire Coffey, Azzurra Opperman, and Rose Hoelzel finished that race in 9:29.11.
“We just came into this race with trust in our teammates, coaches, and training and accomplished what we came here to do, qualify for state,” Hoelzel said. “We are very excited to compete at Jesse Owen’s Stadium next week.”
The Tigers set a goal to advance to the state meet and are pleased they achieved their goal for the meet.
“At this stage, we are just trying to compete and advance,” Opperman said. “To that end, we are satisfied with our time in that it qualified us for the state meet.”
Perry and Geneva also scored in the 4×800-meter relay.
Perry’s team of Alyssa Vis, Holly Vis, Grace McKoon, and Corinne Lynch placed fifth in 9:41.97, just 7/100 of a second behind the fourth-place team from St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Geneva’s Mya Evangelista, Maggie Moon, Grace Dubsky, and Renee Tetlow finished seventh in 10:06.61.
A host of other CVC athletes qualified for Saturday’s regional finals by finishing among the top eight in the preliminary races and field events.
That group included Beachwood’s Aaliyah Edwards (8th, 300 hurdles, 48.00), Dakota Houston (3rd, 100, 12.38-state top 50; 5th, 200, 25.82), Noah Saidel (4th, 400, 51.05), and David Steckner (5th, 400, 50.71); Hawken’s Christian Anderson (3rd, 100, 10.77-state top 50; 5th, 200, 22.20), Jordan Harrison (1st; 200, 21.94; 2nd, 100, 10.69-state top 50), Leila Metres (1st, 400, 58.07-state top 50), Rosie Murray (6th, 300 hurdles, 47.37), and Makayla White (2nd, 100, 12.13-state top 25; 2nd, 200, 24.99); and Perry’s Brayden Richards (4th, 300 hurdles, 40.00), and Javin Richards (3rd, 110 hurdles, 14.87-state top 50; 2nd, 300 hurdles, 39.94).
Beachwood advanced four relay teams to the finals while Perry has three relay teams still in the hunt for a state berth. Hawken sent two relay teams to the finals while Chagrin Falls has one remaining relay team.
Beachwood’s Houston, Brown, Amelie Cotta, and Lauren Luxenberg won both the 4×100 and 4×200 preliminary races. They finished the 4×100 in 49.14 seconds and the 4×200 in 1:43.41.
Eaton, Saidel, Steckner, and Mattix Revells finished the 4×200 prelims in second place with a time of 1:30.08, and Eaton, Steckner, Saidel, and Berns finished second in the 4×400 with a time of 3:25.13.
Perry’s Jackson Roberts, Tyler Vitolo, Brock Sivon, and Jaden Hacking advanced to the 4×100 finals with a time of 43.51, good for fifth place in the prelims. Roberts, Hacking, Brayden Richards, and Javin Richards placed third in the 4×200 with a time of 1:30.51, and Hacking, Vitolo, Brayden Richards, and Sean Strahan will run in the 4×400 finals after finishing fifth in the prelims with a time of 3:29.03.
Hawken’s Anderson, Harrison, Dominic Johnson, and Andrew Bukovnik continued their record-setting tour by winning the 4×100 prelims with a time of 42.06, a new regional meet record. Metres, Murray, White, and Isabella Green finished fifth in the 4×200 in 1:47.20.
Chagrin Falls 4×400-meter relay team of Opperman, Coffee, Radmosky, and Riley McClintock placed sixth in 4:11.23 and will run in Saturday’s finals.