PREP TRACK United, Salem capture county crowns
The championship was United's first since the girls meet started in 1977.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- The first day of the Columbiana County track and field meet couldn't have gone much worse for the United High girls squad.
Several subpar performances and a disqualification in the 4x200 relay put the Eagles down in the team standings.
Coach Nancy Miller was just hoping for a better day when the running and field event finals were contested Wednesday.
Things turned out even better than she could have hoped for. United won the county team championship, its first since the girls meet was started in 1977.
After periods of thunderstorms and a 90-minute lightning delay, the girls championship came down to the final event -- the 4x400 relay. Heading into the race, Beaver Local led with 106 points, with United at 104 and defending champ Salem at 103.
But the Golden Eagles' unit put together a solid race, leading most of the way, to win the event by .03 seconds over Salem.
That was enough to propel United to the team title with 114 points.
"Awesome," said Miller, after the announcement was made that her squad won the team championship. "Our goal was to be in the top three, but for a small school like us to come over here and beat bigger schools like Salem and East Liverpool is great.
"We had some disappointments [Tuesday] and we had to wait out the weather today, but everyone did their jobs and gave great efforts."
The Salem boys team took all the drama out of the team competition. The Quakers defended their county title by dominating the distance events and relays.
Salem took first and second in both the 1600 and 3200 meters, Lance Murphy won the 800 and Tyler Pierce won the high jump and took fourth in the long jump.
Paul Shivers won the 1600 and Patrick Gorby claimed the 3200 title. Aiman Scullion was second in the 1600, while Isaac Newton was runner-up in the 3200.
Individually, Lisbon's Dom DeFilippo overcame some adversity of his own on his way to a record-setting performance.
During warm-ups for the finals, the senior weights ace was hit in the left shin by a discus that skipped off the ground. It nearly hit an official, but DeFilippo nudged him away in time and ended up getting hit instead.
After stopping the bleeding and applying a bandage, he took a practice throw to see if he would continue. But before the finals could start, the meet was delayed because of lightning.
About 90 minutes later, DeFilippo broke the 15-year-old county record of 169-10 with a toss of 171-7. The effort was enough to earn him his second county discus championship in the last three years.
"It's long overdue," said DeFilippo. "I've been working on a lot of different things in practice and they all came together on that throw. I tried not to think about the injury and just make sure it wasn't a factor.
"It's pretty sore right now and I'll probably whine about it for a little while, but I'm just happy to get my county title back and show myself that I'm capable of getting off those kinds of throws."
DeFilippo wasn't the only individual standout.
Beaver Local's Dan Kinsey scored 38 total points with firsts in the long jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles and a second-place finish in the discus. He was named the MVP in the field events (18 points) and overall point champion.
Salem's Caroline Farina was the overall (26 points) and running event (26) points MVP in the girls meet.
Leetonia's Malorie Valentine scored 20 points in winning the shot and discus to earn MVP honors in the field events.
Beaver Local's John Sensenbaugher scored 22.5 points, including wins in the 100 and 200, to earn the running events MVP.