REGIONAL TRACK & amp; FIELD Page leads area pack of qualifiers

The Hubbard junior won the shot put on the first day of regional competition.
KENT -- Nyelia Page of Hubbard High earned the distinction of being the first state track and field qualifier this spring, when she won the shot put with a toss of 37 feet, 101/4 inches, at the Division II regional meet Wednesday at Roosevelt High Stadium.
A junior, Page placed 16th at the state meet last year.
"I wasn't favored coming here, but I had been here before and knew what to expect," said Page. "I changed my form and attitude this season. Mentally, I have improved.
"My coach, John Benigas, is straightforward. If I have a terrible throw, he tells me. If he thinks my arm is up and I don't bend my legs, he tells me. I love the shot, and my goal is 40 feet."
Lone qualifier: Page was the only area athlete to earn a state berth in the three girls events that were completed Wednesday.
Canton Central Catholic and Chesterland West Geauga were tied for first place with 12 points. Hubbard was tied for fifth with 10.
Georgiann Pavlich of Poland, the defending regional champ in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, qualified for the finals in both events with the fastest semifinal times. She ran the 100 hurdles in 15.62 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 46.26.
After four boys events, Medina Highland is first with 16 points and Cleveland Benedictine is second with 131/2.
Ryan Murphy of Lakeview placed third in the discus with a throw of 153-8 to earn his second trip to Dayton.
"It still wasn't quite there," said Murphy. "You know when it is. It was my best throw this year and my No. 1 goal was getting back to state."
Murphy finished sixth at the state meet last year.
He said, "I would like to do better than that and, of course, I would like to win it."
Girard's Mike Yankey, Matt Penza, Blake Drennen and Matt Shelby finished fourth in the 4x800 relay in a season-best time of 8:05.8.
All seniors, the four participated in the state cross country meet last year.
Penza said, "Me and Yank [Yankey] go out front with the pack and then rely on Drennen and Shelby to finish strong, and that's what we'll need to do at state."
The top four in each event qualified for the state meet.
Friday, finals in running events and the remainder of the field events begin at 5 p.m.
Division III: NAVARRE -- In the Div. III regional meet at Fairless High, Maplewood's boys, the defending state champion, won the 4x800 relay in 8:07.28. McDonald was third (8:19.99).
East Canton was in first place with 18 points after four events. New London was second with 14 and McDonald was third with 12.
Scott Kyser of Leetonia earned a return trip to the state meet next week with a second-place finish in the discus (156-6), and Phil Frye of Mineral Ridge was fourth (150-7).
Ryan Witkoski of McDonald took third place in the long jump (20-5).
Sophomore Anna Marie Ricciardi of Western Reserve was the only area girl, after three events, to earn a state berth. She won the high jump, clearing 5-1.
Collins Western Reserve led with 14 points, while Gates Mill Gilmour Academy and Berlin Center Western Reserve were tied for second with 10.
The top four in each event qualified for the state meet.

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