McDonald continues its dominant streak
By Brian Dzenis
At McDonald, the track team always offers a chance to compete. Even if the Blue Devils smoke teams by 30-plus points, the clock can be beat. A record can be broken or a new personal best can be set.
It’s what the brother and sister coaching tandem of Lou and Mary Domitrovich offer.
“My sister Mary and I pride ourselves on providing opportunities,” Lou Domitrovich said. “You’d be surprised, the athletes see the time we put in and they eat it up. They’ll do whatever you ask, they will.”
On Friday at Springfield, the athletes made the most of another chance to compete with the boys team winning their 10th straight district title and the girls team won its sixth.
“The program we have at McDonald is something special. You don’t just produce state qualifiers and [district titles] off of luck. It goes back to out coaches and our program is amazing,” distance runner Malina Mitchell said. “They put you at such a high level of competition and my teammates are so hardworking.
“We run together sometimes before and after school, there’s so much work that goes into it,” she added.
The boys team put up 121 points, beating Mineral Ridge’s mark of 95.20. The girls side bested host Springfield 99.50-74.50. Mitchell broke two meet records — both of which were hers — while winning the 1600 and 3200. She also was a part of the winning 4x800 and 4x400 relays.
She handily beat the field in the 1600 and teammate Anna Guerra was close behind as the pair left the 3200 crowd behind. Her main distance-running rival, Western Reserve’s Ashleigh Rowley, saw her storied high school career come to a close due to injury.
The eight-time state qualifier — who owns every distance record at her school — came into the tournament with a stress fracture in her foot. Rowley took fifth in the 1600 and was unable to finish the 3200 and the Youngstown State commit had be carried off the track. Coach Andy Hake said she was as tough — or even tougher — than any football player he’s had.
“She’s mentally an animal, a real war daddy and I’m really hurt for her as a coach,” Hake said. “What an honor it is to coach someone like that. Everybody here knows who she is and they know what a tough girl she is.”
Strong distance running helped on the boys side as well. Blue Devils sophomore Carson Fortune picked up wins in the 3200 and the 4x800 relay and was the runner-up in the 800 by less than two seconds. Fortune beat the 3200 crowd by eight seconds and didn’t look tired afterward.
“I think the winter helped a lot. I’ve built up a lot of core strength,” Fortune said. “Now I do three or four miles a day and it’s easy.”
Brookfield’s Xavier Bailey was a big individual winner, taking the 100, 200 and was on the winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays. The 4x200 relay team set a new school record with a time of 1:30.92.
“We’ve been trying to break that record for a while and now it’s done,” Bailey said.
Lisbon’s Seth Stokes beat out Valley Christian’s Dante Yanno by two inches in the high jump with a leap of 6-04.00. He nearly cleared 6-foot-8, but his heel caught the bar as he fell to the mat.
“If I can get over 6-8 consistently. I’m almost 100 percent sure it will put me in Columbus,” Stokes said. “It’ll give me extreme confidence going into the next meet. I just need to get the 6-8 out of my head and I can focus on higher heights.”