Six area athletes managed to get out of the tough Division I regional track and field meet held at Fitch High Falcon Stadium last year. And you won't get an argument from any of the district qualifiers that it will be just as tough to earn a state berth again this year.
The Div. I regional begins Thursday at Fitch at 4 p.m., and the championships will be held Saturday at 1 p.m.
Boardman's Andy Crogan is the only one of the six Div. I 2000 state qualifiers who will attempt to return to Dayton.
Sick the past couple of weeks, Crogan still managed to win the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches at last week's district.
He indicated that he was feeling better and hopes to do better this week. Crogan has the area's top effort in the event (6-8).
Hurdles test: Recognized as one of the nation's top 300 hurdlers, defending champion Derrick Williams of Canton GlenOak (36.27 seconds) should get tested by Rayen's Dennis Reed (38.8), Boardman's Rich Lepore (40.3) and Salem's Jason Greenamyer (40.8).
Fitch's Davanzo Tate (10.8) and Warren Harding's Tjawonkher Putnam (10.8) should be among the challengers in the 100 meters.
Boardman freshmen Amber Bland, sprints, Brittany Durkin, distance races, and sophomore Monica Cuevas, 400 meters; Warren Harding's Jeanna Cunningham, sprints; Canfield's Lindsay Cobey and Fitch's Marian Steele, discus; and Rayen's Erica Wilson, long jump and high jump; should contend in their respective events.
Div. II: In the Div. II meet scheduled at Kent Roosevelt High today at 4 p.m. and Friday at 5 p.m., four area boys and 11 girls will try for a return trip to state.
What may be one of the best fields of girls sprinters entered in the regional in many years will feature, in the 100 meters, 2000 state qualifiers Jessica White (12.3 seconds) of Liberty, Alex Casi (12.5) of East Palestine, Jenelle Eli (12.8) of Hubbard, along with Lizzie Jesko (12.5) of Salem, Jasmine Smith (12.5) of Liberty and Laura Divoky (12.6) of Southeast.
The defending regional champion in the 100 hurdles (15.3) and 300 hurdles (46.3) will be Georgiann Pavlich of Poland.
The 300 hurdles should prove interesting with Liberty's Brittney Humphries (46.9), Ursuline's Jessica Suchanek (47.5) and Southeast's Megan Wygle (47.6) entered.
High jump: It appears the boys high jump could come down to Lakeview's Ty Burin (6 feet, 6 inches) and Southeast's Mike Midcap (6-6), with several other athletes entered that have cleared 6-2.
Girard won the Div. II district crown at Pymatuning Valley and will rely on distance runners Mike Yankey (4:28.5 and 10:25) and Matt Penza (4:35 and 9:48.2) in the 1600 and 3200, respectively.
Lloyd Hewlett (22.5) and Ed Petuah (22.6) of Wilson, Rob Massucci (22.7) of Lakeview and Anthony Worthey (22.7) of LaBrae will battle for state berths in the 200.
Maplewood's boys tied for the Div. III state title a year ago, and it appears they have a chance to do it again, but first they must excel at the regional meet today and Friday at Navarre Fairless High.
Qualifiers: The Rockets feature 2000 state qualifiers Dave Pykare, Dave Morrison, Paul Moser and John Palmer, distance runners; and Dan Palm, hurdles.
Columbiana's Derek Garrod will be among the top contenders in the 100 and 200, and Warren JFK's Alvin Shavers will contend in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
McDonald's Carol Holmes eyes a repeat trip to Dayton and has enough speed to win the regional in the 100 (12.5), 200 (25.7) and 400 (57.2).
Junior Christen Clemson of Maplewood is the athlete to beat in the shot put (37-11) and discus (137-11).

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