3 cheers to Champion’s champions and all Valley spring-sports standouts

Before last weekend, Champion Township’s claims to fame centered primarily on the stately 190-year-old Woodrow William House on the National Register of Historic Places and on the significant role the Warren suburb played in the 19th century anti-slavery Underground Railroad.

Thanks, however, to the Champion Local School District’s incredibly amazing baseball and softball prowess, an exciting new chapter has just been written. The girls of the softball team and the boys of the baseball team secured a solid spot in township lore and in state history Saturday by simultaneously winning Division III state titles in their respective sports.

That twin feat stands out in the record books as only the second time in the century-long history of organized prep sports in Ohio that one school has earned baseball and softball titles in the same year. The Golden Flashes are in great company, sharing that distinction with national powerhouse Walsh Jesuit of Cuyahoga Falls.

We also tip our hats to other stellar athletes from a wide swath of schools in our region for the honors they brought home from Columbus in the state track and field championships, which also took place last weekend.


Collectively this set of spring-sport standouts players, talented coaches and frenzied fans have made their schools, their communities and the entire Mahoning Valley proud by solidifying our region’s reputation as a dynamo for superlative high-school athleticism.

All things considered, teamwork and individual talent sealed the deal for the Greater Youngstown-Warren area’s ability to muster up a hefty chunk of championship medals this weekend.

Consider the awesome skill and precision of senior Champion softball pitcher McKenzie Zigmont. She limited defending state champ Wheelersburg to a measly four hits, striking out six. She then delivered only seven pitches to retire the final three Pirate batters to clinch the Flashes’ 5-1 victory.

Consider the impressive showing of sophomore Champion baseball pitcher Andrew Russell, who threw 110 pitches with eight strikeouts or the offensive skill of shortstop Lucas Nasonti in scoring the game’s winning run in the Flashes’ victory over undefeated Berlin Hiland.

Or consider some of our region’s track and field heavyweights. Among them are East Liverpool’s Lindsay Beker, who won the state championship in the shot put. Also from Columbiana County, Lisbon’s Seth Stokes finished an impressive second in the Division III state high jump championship, and the Salem 4 X 800 relay team finished runner-up in its division.

In Trumbull County, Newton Falls’ Kayla Barreca won state runner-up in discus throwing, and Newton Falls’ junior Izzy Kline gave a commanding second-place performance in the shot put.

Taken together, those hard-hitting softball champs, those singularly skillful baseball titleholders and those never-say-die track and field standouts have brought glory to themselves and to the schools and communities they represent.

As such, they have earned the right to bask in the shining triumph of their history-making achievements.

We heartily salute them.

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