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Our All-Stars want you to know they've done well outside of the athletic arena, too.



Published: Tue, July 9, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Our All-Stars want you to know they've done well outside of the athletic arena, too.

CACHET MURRAY

School: Girard

Grade: Freshman

Statistics/accomplishments: State champion in the 100 and 200; state record-holder in the 200 (24.3).

Positive influence: My grandmother. Without her, there would be no one. She takes me to practice and drops everything just for me.

Best memory: Finals day at the state meet when Jessica [White] and I prayed and wished each other good luck. I won my first state race and stood on the podium and she gave me a big hug after they said my name. It was the best feeling in the world.

Surprised to learn: I really just want to be a 15-year-old girl who could walk down the street without people knowing who I am.

CIERRA BENNETT

School: Ursuline

Grade: Freshman

Statistics/accomplishments: Won regional and finished third in the state in the 400.

Positive influence: I started my career with Robert Gonzales, who explained the rules about track, how to get out of blocks and explained the lines. After him came Coach Miller, my grandma, Coach Ali and Mr. Stroia. They all helped me become a track athlete.

Best memory: When our 4x400 relay broke the school record for the first time at the East Palestine relay meet.

Surprised to learn: I am cool, outgoing and very athletic. I like to hang out with my friends and have a great time. I am in my church choir, danced for five years, have been running for 11 years and have been to numerous national meets. I've been third in the nation in the 400 and sixth in the 800. I'm just trying to make it through high school, worry about college when it gets here and make something of myself in the future.

AMBER BLAND

School: Boardman

Grade: Sophomore

Statistics/accomplishments: Holds three individual records (100, 200, high jump) and was part of the record-setting 4x100 relay team at Mahoning County meet and the SVC meet; set district high jump record (5-10; finished fourth in high jump and seventh in 100 at state meet.

Positive influence: My parents. Because they're always inspiring me to do better and if I do bad, they're still there to keep me going.

Best memory: Running in the 4x400 relay and repeatedly breaking the school record. It was nice because I'm not used to running those long distances.

Surprised to learn: My favorite movie is "Remember the Titans."

ALLISON BRAGER

School: Boardman

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: First female pole vaulter in Boardman history; hold school record (10-6); district and regional champion; fourth in the state; All-Ohio athletic academic team.

Positive influence: My mom. She's the first to encourage me when I'm too hard on myself. All those "Post-it" notes she wrote and packed in my lunch on meet days made me determined to perform well. I would have been as successful if she didn't voluntarily drive me to Columbus [for practice] almost every week.

Best memory: Competing at state for the first time. The atmosphere of competing with the best athletes in front of thousands of people was exhilarating. I was so nervous between each vault I started talking to myself to calm down. I got some pretty strange looks for that one.

Surprised to learn: I have participated in gymnastics since age 3 and have been a competitive gymnast for six years. I also run cross country.

KATRINA BRICKNER

School: Lisbon

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Won 1600 and 3200 at the TCL Meet; 3200 at County Meet; district and regional runner-up in the 3200, placing seventh at state.

Positive influence: My coach, James Watt, has helped make me a better athlete. He has always motivated me and made me give all of my effort. He has also taught me the meaning of teamwork and dedication.

Best memory: Running at the state meet and standing on the podium.

Surprised to learn: Although I ran track and cross country throughout high school, I have been involved in a lot of other activities and had priorities other than running.

ALEXANDRA CASI

School: East Palestine

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Holds five school records, six East Palestine track league records, four Tri-County League records and two Reilly Stadium records. She was county MVP three times and team MVP four times. This season, she won four events at the district meet for the third time in her career, won the 300 hurdles and long jump at the regional meet and made All-Ohio in four events (100, 200, 300 hurdles and long jump) in four events at the state meet. She won state titles in the long jump as a freshman and as a junior year. She will play golf at the University of Maryland this fall.

Positive influence: My brother, Trent. I believe he is the one who instilled record-breaking in me. Whatever we played, whether it was Yahtzee or hallway basketball, he always kept records. When a record was broken, he always made it a big deal. Also, when we would get to a track meet, he taught me that the first thing you look at is the record book. I believe this was the cause of a lot of success for me. He taught me to always have a goal.

Best memory: When I shocked the heck out of my coaches and won the 300 hurdles at the Optimist Meet with a record time of 45.15!

Surprised to learn: I'm crazy about roller coasters and hope to belong to America's Coaster Enthusiasts in the future.

CHRISTEN CLEMSON

School: Maplewood

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Set state record in discus (157-1); won state discus title junior and senior year; Academic All-Ohio 2000-2002; earned MVP at Cope, East Palestine, Cuyahoga Heights and Fitch Optimist meets; placed in top four at state meet in discus all four years of high school; will attend Penn State on throwing scholarship.

Positive influence: My coach, Mark Yoder. He has been my coach since my freshman year and pushes me to be the best even and even though we have differences of opinion, he supports me completely. He is a great coach and is extremely competitive. I'm going to miss him, but the work ethic he has instilled in me will follow me to college.

Best memory: Receiving my medal on the top of the podium at the state meet when they announced the distance of the new state record. I looked up and people I didn't even know were clapping. I had tears in my eyes and goose bumps and then Michelle Rossio [who placed second] looked at me and we both had to smile. It was the greatest moment.

Surprised to learn: My favorite pastimes are writing and reading. My favorite authors are Edgar Allen Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I mostly write fiction; it's a way to relieve stress and pressure. My favorite books are "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Great Gatsby."

MONICA CUEVAS

School: Boardman

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Holds school records in the 400, 800, 4x400 and 4x800; holds district record in the 800, won the 800 at the regional and finished fourth in the state; holds SVC, East Palestine and district record in the 400.

Positive influence: God. When I'm discouraged or mentally tired before an event, he's the one I talk to. He's the only one really helps. My coach, Denise Gorski, my mom and Papi and my supportive family -- they've all been a positive influence.

Best memory: We stayed overnight in a hotel for the Ranger Relays and some of the girls on the 4x800 relay (not me) were too loud the night before. Coach called them down and I tagged along and listened. She told us, "You'd better run like HELL today -- pardon my language." If you know Coach Gorski, you'd know she rarely uses that language. So we knew we had to get serious. We ended up getting the school record and beat [Cleveland Heights] Beaumont's 4x800 team.

Surprised to learn: I'm a pack rat. I get attached to the most useless things and save them for years. I have boxes full of junk. I'll say, "Oh, I'll clean it out someday" or "How do I know I won't need it in the future?" But most people don't reuse pop cans from their sixth grade West Elementary School vending machine. I guess I'm too sentimental to throw stuff out.

PAULA FERRY

School: Beaver Local

Grade: Sophomore

Statistics/accomplishments: Placed fifth in long jump (17-4 1/2) at state; holds school records in the long jump (17-5 1/4), 100 hurdles (16.0), 4x200 relay; first freshman to qualify for state track meet as a freshman in school history.

Positive influence: My dad. No matter what he had to do, he would make sure I was at every track meet possible and would be there yelling for me and cheering me on.

Best memory: Standing on the podium at state and hearing my name over the loudspeaker.

Surprised to learn: When I was younger, I had no athletic ability and no one would even give me a chance to try.

TIFFANY HACK

School: Mineral Ridge

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Trumbull County, Inter-County League, district and regional shot put champion. Finished third at state. Holds ICL, school and district record.

Positive influence: There isn't just one person -- my coach, but also my parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and, of course, my grandfather. Without their support, I wouldn't have had as much success.

Best memory: Breaking the school record that was held by my cousin and placing third at state.

Surprised to learn: I like to read and write poetry, I enjoy listening to Broadway music and I love going fishing with my grandfather.

JEN HIVELY

School: West Branch

Grade: Junior

Statistics /accomplishments: MVP of Warrior Invitational; Northeastern Buckeye Conference player of the year; school record holder in the 100 hurdles and 4x200 relay; district and regional champion in the 100 hurdles; finished fifth in the state in the 100 hurdles; qualified for state in the 4x100 relay and 4x200 relay.

Positive influence: Shane Rohaley. He supports me every track season by attending each meet. He's always there waiting for me at the finish line.

Best memory: At the end of almost every practice, my friend Anna Baltputnis and I would ice our legs together. We always had a lot of fun sitting and talking.

Surprised to learn: At the Mahoning County Meet in seventh grade, I fell during the 100 hurdles. I got up and finished not realizing I had broken my wrist.

BRITTNY HUMPHREY

School: Liberty

Grade: Sophomore

Statistics/accomplishments: Member of district, regional and state champion 4x200 relay; member of Trumbull County, TAC-8 and district champion 4x100 relay, which finished second at the regional meet and third at the state meet.

Positive influence: My parents. They support me in whatever I do and are always there for me. Also, Lawrence Underwood for starting me off in the right direction.

Best memory: Winning the 4x200 relay. It was my first time at state and hopefully won't be my last. I was very proud of my relay team.

Surprised to learn: I was running with a sprained ACL in my right knee during track season.

AMI MARKOWITZ

School: Liberty

Grade: Freshman

Statistics/accomplishments: Part of district champion and school-record holding 4x100 relay that finished second at the regional meet and third at the state meet.

Positive influence: My aerobics instructor for nine years, Sandy Sabo. She taught me self-confidence, how to run, a healthy diet and many other characteristics that help me with sports and, more importantly, life.

Best memory: Going to state, meeting our goal of beating Girard and being satisfied with a third place finish.

Surprised to learn: I am a very independent person. I do not enjoy letting people help me in sports or in school.

JULIE NEMERGUT

School: South Range

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Placed seventh at the state meet in the 1600.

Positive influence: All of my coaches. They are always pushing me to do my best and encouraging me.

Best memory: Being on the podium at state.

Surprised to learn: I will be attending Edinboro University to run cross country and track and major in special education.

NYELIA PAGE

School: Hubbard

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Advanced to state meet in shot put the past three years; regional shot champion in 2001 and district discus champion in 2001; regional runner-up in shot in 2002.

Positive influence: My mom has always encouraged me to do all I can and never settle for less. My entire family is behind me, pushing me along. Mr. Benigas, my coach, has been a positive influence both athletically and spiritually. Above all, God deserves the credit for blessing me with all I have.

Best memory: Placing sixth in the shot at state this year.

Surprised to learn: I was class president for four years; honor roll student; member of SADD, FBLA, FTA, Key Club; member of volleyball team that set TAC-8 history with 100 straight wins and member of first TAC-8 champion girls basketball team.

MICHELLE ROSSIO

School: Warren JFK

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Finished second in the discus at the regional and state meets; MVP of Bulldog Invitational.

Positive influence: My coach, Mr. Domitrivich. He has always been willing to put in his time and effort to help me improve and succeed. He is a great friend who teaches me many things both inside and outside the ring. He is always there for me no matter what.

Best memory: Throwing 144-1 and placing second at state. Also, standing 1-2 with my friend Christen [Clemson] on the podium.

Surprised to learn: I have lucky red nail polish I must wear every track meet and a Queen of Victory pin I've worn every meet since my freshman year.

ANNA MARIE RICCIARDI

School: Western Reserve

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Holds school and district record in high jump (5-6 1/4); won state title in high jump; holds school record in 100 hurdles (15.9), long jump (16-11 3/4) and 300 hurdles (47.9).

Positive influence: My mom. No matter how I perform, I can always count on her for a hug, encouraging words and some food on the table when I get home.

Best memory: Winning the state title was my best memory and one of the most exciting memories of my life. I'll never forget standing on the top of the podium with everyone cheering -- it was truly exhilarating.

Surprised to learn: I play basketball, volleyball and summer softball and spend most of my time shooting around, lifting and hanging out with my friends. I've played softball and basketball since I was 6, so sports have always been a part of my life.

JASMINE SMITH

School: Liberty

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: First leg of state champion 4x200 relay and third place 4x100 relay; second at the TAC-8 meet and third at Optimist and Trumbull County meets in the 100; first in the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200 at the Liberty Invitational;

Positive influence: My parents have both been a positive influence and have pushed me to limits I thought I would never reach. They stayed behind me and supported me throughout my career and have done whatever needed to make me better and keep me healthy.

Best memory: When my four teammates and I went to state and placed fourth overall with just five athletes. We also won the 4x200 and came in third in the 4x100. We all had a lot of fun!

Surprised to learn: In February, my mom and I saved a family of seven from their burning house in Struthers. We were driving by and saw flames shooting out of their attic, so we stopped and I ran in and woke the people up while my mom called 911.

WHITNEY SPENCE

School: Liberty

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Member of the state champion 4x200 relay.

Positive influence: My family. They encourage me and tell me I can do better. They tell me never to give up and keep going. They tell me to keep up the good work.

Best memory: At the beginning of the season, I was hoping to make it to the state meet. I worked very hard everyday both in school and in practice. I was put in the 4x200 relay at the district meet and I knew then we had a good chance to make it to state but I never fantasized about winning the gold. I realized my family was right, "With God, all things are possible."

Surprised to learn: I ran track in 1998 for the Greater Youngstown Association under Mr. Underwood. I also went to nationals in Norfolk, Va. in the 400 and 4x400 relay. I attend Everlife Worship Center Assembly of God. I have three brothers and my dream is to make it to the Olympics. Since I am older than some of my other family members, I want them to know they can achieve this same goal.

MARIAN STEELE

School: Fitch

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Fourth at state in the discus; second at regional meet; first at district and Optimist meets.

Positive influence: My father. He always has words of encouragement for me. When I had a bad day, he reminded me the sun was going to rise the next day. He's always there for me and encourages me to work hard and practice in everything I do.

Best memory: Qualifying for the finals at state with my best throw ever (139-0) and placing fourth. Being on the podium in front of all those people was just an unexplainable feeling.

Surprised to learn: When I started throwing my freshman year, I hated throwing the discus; the shot put was my favorite. But look how things turned out.

JESSICA WHITE

School: Liberty

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Qualified for the state meet all three years. Won the 100 at the Trumbull County Meet. Anchored state champion 4x200 relay.

Positive influence: My father. Without him, none of this would be possible. He put in the time to make me a better athlete as well as a young lady. Even though I sometimes lose, he's always at the finish line waiting for me to give me words of encouragement. He was part of the reason I made it to state this year. He never let me give up and I thank him for that. I love him with all my heart. My family has supported me through the good and bad.

Best memory: Beating Cachet Murray at the Trumbull County Meet. Everyone thought I couldn't do it, but I did. Also, when Girard's 4x100 relay team beat us at the regional meet and they thought they were sweet and talked all that stuff. Then our 4x100 turned around and beat them at state when it really counted.

Surprised to learn: I would like to give honor and glory to God because without him, nothing would be possible. He was what got me down to state because after being sick, no one thought I would be able to do it. But he got me through it.

COACH OF THE YEAR

JAY CRIPE

School: Liberty

Positive influence: My wife, Kate. Without her doing everything she does, it would not be possible for me to have time to coach.

Best memory: The girls overcoming adversity and achieving their goal of performing as well as possible and being on the podium at the state meet.




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