Fitch clinches berth to Division I regional meet
By Dan Hiner
The Solon boys 4x200 relay team was looking to win its third straight district title. But Austintown Fitch beat the defending champs by 0.3 seconds to clinch a berth to the Division I regional meet.
Solon won the boys and girls district titles, with both of the Falcons’ teams being named runner-up on Friday at Fitch in the Division I track and field district meet.
The Comets won the boys side with 172 points and the girls finished with 109.50. The Falcons’ boys team had 91 points and the girls ended with 97.75.
In addition to winning the 4x200, the Falcons also won the 4x100. Fitch’s Ralph Fitzgerald finished fifth in the 100-meter dash so he burned off some steam in the 4x200.
“I didn’t make it in the 100 and I was kind of upset. I figured I’d take it out on the relays,” Fitzgerald said. “We just dominated, the handoffs were amazing, everyone did their job. The team accomplished something today.”
Fitch senior Lauren Dolak broke the school record after coming in second with a time of a 5:08.55 in the 1600. Boardman’s Casey Zaitzew was third with 5:20.43.
“I didn’t know,” Dolak said. “I crossed the line and I kind of had a feeling I [broke the record] because I looked at the clock before, but I didn’t actually know ‘til I walked off the track. I’m just relieved I finally got it.”
Warren Harding’s Kayron Adams won the boys 100 after finishing second last year. Adams ran 10.84, almost half a second faster than last year. East’s Giovanni Washington was third at 11.03.
East junior Jahniya Bowers won the girls 100 and 200 for a second straight year. Bowers ran a 12.17 in the 100 and a 25.08 in the 200. Teammate Kyndia Matlock finished second in both races. Matlock was just behind Bowers with a 12.27 in the 100 and ran 25.58 in the 200.
Fitch’s Jakari Lumsden and Deondre McKeever claimed the top two spots in the high jump — both finished with an attempt of 6-04.00. Lumsden finished first after clearing the bar on one attempt.
The Falcons had 20 qualifiers make the cut and advance, the most of any school.
Boardman’s Steven Amstutz won the shot put with a throw of 53-01.50. The Spartans qualified for nine events next week, including both the 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.
Canfield’s Brianna Dunlap finished second in the girls shot put after throwing 35-09.00. Teammates Giovanni Copploe advanced in the 3200, Jimmy Maas qualified in the boys long jump and Serena Sammarone made the cut in the girls long jump.
Howland’s Vincent Mauri won the 3200 after running 9:22.04. Manny Perez and Madison Sisler also qualified for the Tigers. Sisler finished fourth in the girls high jump and Perez finished fourth in the 400.
Fitch boys coach Seth Steiner made some changes to the relay teams over the last few weeks. He thinks the teams are beginning to gel at the right time, but knows Solon is waiting for the Falcons next week in the regional round.
“These guys have been working hard all season and this is kind of the culmination,” Steiner said. “This is what they work for. They work hard together. It’s definitely enjoyable to see these guys come together like that.”