The junior missed first place in the discus by 1 inch.
By MARK W. MILLER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- Field events sometimes can be decided by an inch or less.
Steve Vallos of Boardman High missed out on first place by 1 inch in the discus, at the Division I regional track and field meet Thursday at Falcon Stadium.
On his last throw of the finals, Vallos reached 171 feet, 7 inches, but still trailed eventual winner Rob Warren of Mentor, who notched 171-8.
Still, it was Vallos' best effort of the season and qualified him for next week's state meet at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
Close call: "One inch, I just missed by 1 inch," repeated Vallos, a junior. "Now I want to place in the top five at state.
"I practiced a lot this week to correct some things and I got better with my throws as it went along today."
On the strength of Warren's win, Mentor led the boys standings after three events with 17 points. North Canton Hoover was second with 13.
The top four individuals and relay teams advanced to state.
Mike Simpson of Warren Harding placed second in the long jump with a leap of 21-5.
Intermittent rain made conditions difficult at times throughout the meet. Simpson was aware of the sometimes treacherous footing.
"I was worried about slipping and falling," he said. "I didn't want to embarrass myself.
Leaping to victory: Freshman Amber Bland of Boardman took first place in the girls high jump, clearing 5-4.
Kent Roosevelt led the first day's standings with 17 points, while Boardman was second with 16.
Bland said, "I think I could have done a better in it.
"I was a little nervous because they wanted me to compete in the 100 and high jump at the same time, and I didn't want to be disqualified in either one."
Boardman's 4x800-meter relay of Brittany Durkin, Gina Mavrikis, Sarah Grabert and Monica Cuevas finished third in 9 minutes, 35.25 seconds to earn a state berth.
Mavrikis said, "We practiced all week in the rain, so it didn't bother us. We were trying to break our school record [9:32]."
The pole vault competition was suspended by the rain and will resume, along with other field events, Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The finals in track events will begin at 12:30 p.m.