Competition concludes on Thursday.
By DOUG CHAPIN
CORTLAND -- The defending champions, the Warren G. Harding High boys and the McDonald girls, both got off to good starts Tuesday, the first night of the Trumbull County track and field meet at Lakeview High School.
The McDonald girls won the 4x800-meter relay with Natalie Morello, Erin Koppel, Jenn Wenhold and Nicole Booth. The Blue Devils have won the county title each year since the meet was resumed in 1995.
Only two other events were finalized for the girls. Maplewood's Christen Clemson broke her own meet record in winning the discus, and Champion's Maren Kemp captured the long jump.
Qualifying carries weight
On the boys side, Warren Harding scored just four points in the three events finalized Tuesday, but the Raiders successfully qualified most of their athletes for Thursday's finals.
Sprinters Rob Massucci and Tjawonkher Davis both advanced in the 100 and 200, and hurdler Antwaun Molden moved on in both hurdle events.
"The kids are doing a real good job," Warren Harding coach Dan Reardon said. "It all comes down to how they run on Thursday."
Reardon said the Raiders have done well handling the pressure of being the defending champion and pre-meet favorite.
"One thing not a lot of people may know is the kids who scored points when we won this meet last year all are back," Reardon said, "and they've handled the pressure pretty well."
Howland and Warren JFK are considered possible threats to Harding. Another contender, Maplewood, which is strong in the distance events, has to hope the points in the sprint events are divided fairly evenly.
The Rockets got off to a good start Tuesday by winning the 4x800 relay with John Palmer, Paul Moser, Derek Armstrong and Dave Pykare.
Other final events Tuesday were the shot put, won by Lakeview's George Washko, and the high jump, won by Tom Simeone of Niles.
Competition is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Thursday.