Saturday's Ward meet in East Palestine will have competitors from 33 schools.
SALEM -- Cleveland Heights won last year's F.E. Cope girls track and field meet, out-pointing 24 other schools.
Meet director Ray Steffen, Salem High's athletic director, said the 2002 Cope meet that will be run Friday at Reilly Stadium has been expanded to 35 teams.
A new format for the 10th annual event will feature Division I, II and III champions and runners-up, as well as field and running MVPs.
Saturday at East Palestine's Reid Stadium, meet director John Daubenspeck has 33 schools entered in the 33rd Ward Invitational track and field meet.
Field events, including girls pole vault, and hurdle and sprint preliminaries will get the Cope meet under way at 4 p.m. The finals are slated for 6 p.m.
Seven of the eight girls in last year's 400-meter final -- Boardman's Monica Cuevas, Mooney's Lori Patrone and Anne Novosel, Southeast's Laura Divoky, St. Thomas Aquinas' Stephanie Hunt and Cleveland Heights' Dionne Jones and Dominque Jones, will compete.
Boardman's Amber Bland, Salem's Lizzie Jesko, East Palestine's Alex Casi, Southeast's Raina Keppler and Struthers' Sarah Sepesy will contend in the sprints.
Field: In the weight events will be: Christen Clemson of Maplewood, the defending Div. III state champ in the discus (140 feet, 10 inches); Angela Cape of Howland, the defending Cope champ; Lindsay Cobey of Canfield; Michelle Rossio of Warren JFK; Lisa Dubinski of Southeast; Marion Steel of Austintown Fitch; and Ashley Kohler of Boardman.
Casi, the defending Div. II state long jump champ, holds the Cope record (16-121/4). Paula Ferry of Beaver Local (17-1/2) sixth at the state meet in Div. II last year, is also entered.
Bland, the defending Div. I state high jump champ, will defend her Cope title against high school All-American Tiffany Colvin of Cleveland Rhodes, who placed sixth a year ago at the national meet in Raleigh, N.C.
Canton GlenOak returns to defend its Ward Crown Saturday, but Boardman, which was third a year ago, has several veterans back and should challenge for the team title.
The Spartans' Rich Lepore and Salem's Jason Greenamyer, also a contender in the long jump, will be matched again in a solid field of 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles.
Veteran sprinters Quinten Humphries and Ed Fetuah of Wilson; Tjawonkher Davis, Travis Stanford, Rob Massucci and Treymayne Warfield of Warren Harding; Ben Nolan of Warren JFK; and Tyler O'Halloran of Boardman will compete.
Howland's George Fetchko and Matt Zahrajsek will compete in the shot put and discus events.