Maplewood's 4x800 boys relay knocked 30 seconds off its time en route to the Div. III state championship.
By MARK W. MILLER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
When The Vindicator sports department published the 2001 area's top track marks for the first time April 18, the Maplewood High 4x800 boys relay topped the list with a time of 8 minutes, 20.2 seconds.
That ranking came after the Rockets were second at the Ward Invitational (8:30.2).
About eight weeks later, the Rockets were still No. 1 on the area list as John Palmer, Derek Armstrong, Dave Morrison and David Pykare won the event (8:00.2) at the Division III state meet at Dayton's Welcome stadium.
What the four athletes did was improve their time by 20 seconds and, along the way, won the relay at the regional (8:07.2), district (8:18.2), Optimist (8:01), Poland Invitational (8:12.6), Trumbull County (8:09.1) and F.E. Cope (8:24.4) meets.
Bland tops: Boardman High freshman Amber Bland topped the high jump mark during the same span.
Her effort of 5 feet, 6 inches on April 18 was 4 inches better than the closest area competitor.
Jacquie Trevis of Struthers managed to clear 5-21/2, which was the best effort of the seven closest area challenges.
Bland went on to win the Div. I state high jump title (5-8) and improved by 6 inches her effort of 5-2 made at the F.E. Cope meet early in the season.
Clemson sparkles: Another state champ, Christen Clemson, a junior at Div. III Maplewood took on the area's best discus throwers throughout the campaign. Her toss of 140 feet, 11 inches was 14 feet better than the No. 2 athlete in the area's top marks.
In the April 18 list, Clemson established an area toss of 136-9 that was a mark for others to better; they didn't. She went on to improve that performance by 4 feet, 2 inches.
East Palestine junior Alex Casi, having been to the state meet three years, has led the area marks in the long jump during that same time.
After a second place in this year's regional (18-3), Casi won the Div. II state title (18-4). She also won the state crown as a freshman (18-8 3/4).
Her best effort as a sophomore (17-7 1/2) was 81/2 inches better than the area's second-best mark.
Vallos leader: Junior discus thrower Steve Vallos of Boardman was second (165-1) in the area marks on April 18. He took over the top spot (170-6) and stayed there the rest of the season. He was third at the Div. I state meet with a toss of 172 feet.
McDonald High's Carol Holmes, who competed in the state meet four straight years, finished an outstanding career by placing third in the Div. III 100 meters (12.52) in Dayton.
Among the area leaders in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 throughout the season, Holmes was fifth in the 400 (61.5 seconds) on April 18. She moved to the top of the list to stay (57.4) on May 2; her best effort (56.76) was good for first place at the Navarre regional May 23.
Senior high jumpers Mike Midcap of Southeast and Ty Burin of Lakeview tied for second (6-6) in the area's top marks. In the Div. II regional meet, Burin placed second and Midcap third. At the state meet, Midcap (6-5) was second and Burin (6-4) third.
Pykare glows: Maplewood's David Pykare, a junior, had the area's top 1600 time (4:29.9) April 18. He remained there throughout the campaign and was third in the Div. III state meet in 4:21.13.
Western Reserve senior Michelle Morrison was second in the 300 hurdles (47.8) of the first top marks' list. She rotated between third and fourth a couple of times before the Div. III state meet, and placed third (45.78), ending second on the list.
Leetonia senior Scott Kyser led the shot put (55-2 1/2) and discus (168-10) on April 18.
He slipped to second in the shot on May 9 and fell to second in the discus on May 17. At the Div. III state meet, he was second in the discus (158-10) and third in the shot (53-9).