By Tim Cleveland
It was another year, another district championship for Mark Hadley.
The Boardman senior did exactly what he was expected to do Saturday in the Division I district at Trumbull County Fairgrounds, running 15:23.35 to win his third consecutive district title, finishing more than six seconds ahead of Twinsburg’s Garrett Crichlow.
The top four teams and top 16 individuals also qualify for next Saturday’s regional meet at Boardman High School.
“I did my job; I came out here and I won,” Hadley said. “I did it pretty comfortably and I just kind of saved my best stuff for state.”
Hadley said he’s very confident with the regional meet being at Boardman High School.
“I love the fact it’s on my home course,” he said. “I always like to run a little harder there to defend my course. I get to do workouts on it; I know the terrain pretty well. I guess there’s an advantage in that.”
The Spartans also won the team title, 52-71, over Twinsburg.
Besides Hadley, Boardman placed four other runners in the top 20: Alan Burns (sixth, 16:02.24), Nathan Hadley (12th, 16:23.64), Justin Maroni (14th, 16:30.70) and Jacob Kelleck (19th, 16:39.85).
McDonald’s Bobby Johnson took a victory of more than four seconds in Division III, finishing in 16:18.08 to beat Tristan Dahmen of Maplewood, who ran 16:22.46.
“I was just hoping to go out and do what I can just to win it, not do too much in the mud and save it for the next two weeks,” said Johnson, making his fourth trip to regionals. “It worked out nicely; the team finished well and I was able to get the win. It’s a good day when you can do that.”
The Rockets had the last laugh, beating the Blue Devils for the team title, 41-53.
Making his return for McDonald was senior Allan Coviello, who missed a good portion of the season with a back injury and ran 17:08.91 Saturday to place 13th. Johnson said his return was a huge deal for the team.
“It was definitely key,” he said. “We’re all breathing a sigh of relief now that he’s all right. We were worried about him with that back.”
Johnson said while McDonald should advance to state next Saturday, the Blue Devils will be facing the toughest competition around.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “We’re used to the tough route, so we’re ready to mix it up with the best of them. We still don’t have to run our best, we’ve just got to make sure we get out. If we can do that, we’ll be ready to go the weekend after that, hopefully.”
Mineral Ridge was nosed out for the fourth and final team spot in Division III, finishing 10 points behind Pymatuning Valley.
The Rams did have two individual qualifiers for the regional meet: Logan Smith (third, 16:23.85) and Nathanael Toth (10th, 17:01.24).
Howland qualified as a team in Division I, finishing fourth with 102 points to earn the final team spot.
Howland’s Ryan Sullivan, a senior, finished fourth in 15:46.70 to earn his third trip to regionals.
“It’s a lot better than last year,” Sullivan said. “Last year coming in I was worried I wasn’t going to make it, but this year I know I have a solid spot.
“This year, our team clinched fourth today so next week it’ll all be about having the team make state.”
Qualifying as an individual in Division I was Alec Kennedy of Canfield, who placed 13th in 16:30.04. The Cardinals were sixth as a team with 125 points.
Austintown Fitch was eighth with 160 points.
In Division II, Champion finished three points behind team champion Crestwood (49-46). Lakeview finished third with 64 points, with Girard fifth (146), Struthers sixth (171), LaBrae eighth (212), Poland ninth (247), Cardinal Mooney 10th (260) and Niles 11th (288).
Local individual qualifiers in Division II were Derek Basinger of Girard (sixth, 17:16.74) and Struthers’ Matthew Bollinger (11th, 17:29.60).