Athletes defined dazzling, rewards
A track and field glossary from last weekend's highlights in the state meet at Dayton's Welcome Stadium:
UBland, Amber -- Calm, cool freshman from Boardman who peaked at the right time in the high jump. Her leap of 5-foot-8 bested Defiance senior Sarah Mallett for the Division I title. Bland's personal best and school record increased to 5-9 when she executed the jump as the final competitor in the field.
UCasi, Alex -- Junior who returned the Division II state long jump title to East Palestine. She won the event as a freshman and dropped to runner-up last year before basking in state glory again with a leap of 18-4. Casi also stood on the podium in the 100 (sixth, 13.29) and 200 (fourth, 26.52) for, what she called, "icing on the cake."
UClemson, Christen -- Outgoing junior who won Maplewood's first state title in a girls event. Her mark of 140 feet, 11 inches in the Division III discus competition bested the runner-up by 5 feet.
UDavies, Lisa -- Sophomore from West Branch who ran the 3200 for the second straight year. Her sixth-place finish (11:23.63) wasn't as important as the matter at school, where two students died of the meningitis bacteria. Davies and her teammates were on anti-bacteria medication and weren't certain they would be permitted to compete.
UGarrod, Derek -- Quarterback of the option-oriented Columbiana football team that showed off his running skills by placing sixth in the 100 (11.36) and 200 (23.21). The 5-foot-7 junior continues his attempt to shake the sixth-place stigma; he finished there in the 100 as a sophomore.
UHewlett, Lloyd -- Four-year member of the Wilson track team who ended his career at the ultimate meet. Although he didn't place in the 100 or 200, he and the Redmen's 4x100 relay, which also included Quentin Humphries, Kenny Jacobs and Edward Fetuah, were wowed by the state experience.
UHolmes, Carol -- Oberlin recruit from McDonald who completed her goal of reaching the state meet in an individual event. She was there in three, placing third in the 100 (12.52). She was also seventh in the 400 (58.82) and seventh in her semifinal heat of the 200 (27.38).
UKyser, Scott -- Senior from Leetonia who doubled in the discus and shot put, with second-(158-10) and third-place (53-9) finishes, respectively. The easy-going Kyser said he was "freaking out" when his 158 -- 10 feet below his best -- put him in the lead.
UMaplewood -- Boys team of senior Dave Morrison, junior David Pykare, sophomore John Palmer, sophomore Derek Armstrong and freshman Dan Palm who attempted a defense of its title, before falling two places short.
UMidcap, Mike -- Senior from Southeast who didn't allow a two-year hiatus for personal reasons deter his path to state. He placed second in the high jump (6-5), one position ahead of Lakeview senior Ty Burin (6-4).
UMorrison, Michelle -- Cincinnati recruit from Western Reserve who didn't have any regrets, moving up to third in the 300 hurdles (45.78) after her sixth-place finish last year.
UNemergut, Kim -- Coastal Carolina recruit from South Range who attempted to defend her 1600 title before falling short by placing fourth (5:07.92). Nemergut said the pressure of defending was high.
UPenza, Matt -- Classy Ohio State recruit from Girard who put his fourth-place finish in the 3200 run (9:35.74) into perspective. One year after placing third in the event, Penza explained his lack of disappointment stems from his knowing that he gave everything he had.
UVallos, Steve -- A 6-4, 290-pound junior discus thrower from Boardman who showed remarkable improvement from his sophomore year. He went from throwing in the 140-foot range to a 172 mark, good enough for third place.
UWarren JFK -- Team completed the first season under coach Tim McNeil, who vowed to make the state meet a familiar destination for his athletes.
XBrian Richesson covers high school sports for The Vindicator. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.