The Bulldogs edged Canfield at Saturday's East Palestine Girls Invitational.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
EAST PALESTINE -- So far this track season, Poland senior Colleen Moran has been ahead of her goals, ahead of her times and, more often than not, ahead of her peers.
Not surprisingly, she worked pretty hard in the offseason. And, not surprisingly, she wasn't always thrilled about it.
"Our team ran outside all winter," she said. "No matter how cold, how icy, how bad the winter got, we still ran. It was not fun.
"Especially when it gets dark at 4 o'clock."
Still, it paid off. Moran picked up her second running MVP of the season -- and her career -- at Saturday's East Palestine Girls Invitational.
Moran won three events -- the 800-meter, 1600 and 4x800 relay -- to help the Bulldogs edge Canfield for the team title.
"I think our depth and our balance really paid off," said Poland coach Troy Massey, whose team won three of four relays. "We didn't come in here expecting to win, but we qualified two [athletes] in almost every event in the finals and that helped.
"Still, we were surprised. Pleasantly surprised."
Second MVP honor
Moran, who also earned running MVP at last week's Cope Invitational, was one second off her personal best in the mile (5:22.2) and her times are ahead of where they were last year at this time.
Part of it is maturity. And part of it is weather, too.
"I was pretty excited to run today," Moran said. "It was really good weather."
Canfield's Audra Frimpong was the overall points leader, winning the 100 and finishing second in the long jump.
MVP in field events
Leetonia's Malorie Valentine also had a good day. She threw personal bests in the shot (38-9) and discus (109-10) to finish second in both events and earn field event MVP.
"I woke up with a lot of energy today," said Valentine, whose alarm went off at 7 a.m. "I'm ahead of where I want to be."
As Valentine was talking, one of her coaches interrupted and said, "She's also a straight-A student."
"And a loyal friend," said her teammate, Emily Goerig, who finished third in the shot put.
"And a wonderful person," the coach said.
Got all that? If not, don't sweat it. It's still early in the season.
But hey, early meets count, too.
"This definitely helps my confidence," Valentine said. "I'm going to put my goals even higher than where I had them at."