Bland sets four records in meet

Boardman cruised to the overall girls title.
AUSTINTOWN -- Bridget Beachy has perfected the handoff.
The Boardman High junior ran the second leg of the Spartans' 4x800-meter relay, which set a meet record with a time of 9 minutes, 55.40 seconds at the Mahoning County meet at Fitch High School on Wednesday.
Thing is, she's just filling in for junior Monica Cuevas, who will join the relay later in the season. But Beachy didn't seem to mind and even poked fun at herself after the race.
"They're all saying, 'Go Bridget, run the whole season while Monica rests,' " she said, laughing. "That's OK. They support me and we did great today."
It seemed like all the Spartans did.
Boardman sophomore Amber Bland set four meet records and the Spartans cruised to the overall title with 4241/2 points. Fitch was second with 338. Mooney finished first in Division II with 1931/2 points and Western Reserve took first in Div. III with 127 points.
Opening win
The 3200 relay was the meet's first event and Boardman's finish was a sign of things to come.
"We had [the record] in our mind," said senior Gina Mavrikis, who will run at Youngstown State next year. "We knew we could do it if we put together some good performances."
Added sophomore Sarah Grabert, who ran the final leg: "I tried to pass runners in front of me, even if they were behind us [in laps]. It makes it a little easier."
Mavrikis, who was a cheerleader for the Spartans, advanced to the state track meet last year and narrowly missed qualifying in cross country last fall. She considered some other Division I schools, but YSU was the best fit.
"I was really impressed with the program," she said. "It's close to home, I like the coach [Brian Gorby] and the girls were really nice."
Bland puts on show
Bland won the 100, setting a meet record in the preliminaries with a time of 12.1. She set meet records in the finals of the 200 and the high jump.
Bland was also part of the 4x400 relay with Durkin, Cuevas and freshman Liz Yazbek, which set a school record with a time of 4:06.67. The previous record was set in 1983 by Karen Strishock, Roxane Lucko, Tanja Simeone and Laurie Galik.
Durkin also won the 1600, Cuevas won the 400 and Spartans senior Ashley Kohler won the shot put and the discus.
Allison Brager of Boardman pole vaulted 9-0 to break her school record of 7-6.
"I've been bending the pole and there's a real advantage in bending it," she said. "I've been very focused and I think the main thing is overcoming your fear."
Brager started vaulting last June when she traveled to Ashland to attend a three-day clinic. She goes to the Columbus suburb of Westerville twice a month to work on vaulting and works with Fitch coach Joe Hammon, a 1964 Fitch graduate who still vaults over 13 feet.
"She's had good coaching," Hammon said. "Whoever taught her knew what she was doing. I've just fine tuned some things and she's looked awesome."
Mara Boak won the 800 as Canfield finished third. Fitch senior Stephanie Davis won the 100 hurdles and sophomore teammate Sarah Baker won the 300 hurdles and the long jump. Fitch also won the 4x100 relay. Mooney's 4x200 relay of Gina Ortiz, Jenna Polkovitch, Anna Novosel and Lori Patrone took first.

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