On to regionals: Malito siblings, Girard athletes take center stage at district meet
Lakeview, Champion, Garfield athletes also qualify for regional meet
CORTLAND — Sweat dripped, blood spilled and records fell under the hot sun Saturday, as Girard put up a strong showing at the Division II district track meet at Lakeview.
Both the Indians’ boys and girls teams finished in the top-four of the team standings and had plenty of athletes qualify for the Division II regional meet next week at Austintown Fitch.
Two highlights of the meet were the Malito siblings, sophomore Mia and senior Dominic, who each won both the high jump and long jump field events. Dominic did so by setting the district meet record in both events with a 6-foot-3 in the high jump and a 22-foot-9.25 leap in the long jump.
“We’re really excited going into regionals,” Mia said. “We know there’s going to be a lot of competition, but I think if we keep (going) how we are, then we’ll be good.”
Mia shined on the track as well, as a member of both the winning 4×200 relay team and the runner up 4×400 relay team for Girard.
In the relays, each runner has to complement the other on the track — some may be better at the start, some may be better on the turns and some are at their best in the clutch down the closing stretch. But each part is vital for a winning relay team.
“We all believe in each other, so that’s a big thing,” Mia said. “We want everyone to go out there and do their best, so we push each other in workouts and hype each other up before we run.”
Mia knows, however, that the jump in competition going from districts to regionals will be steep, so preparation in both the running and jumping events will be key.
“You have to be consistent in your approach for high jump and long jump and you need to get the form down,” Mia said. “(In running), you work on speed workouts and being able to finish. You want to be able to maintain speed throughout the entire race and finish strong.”
Dominic also qualified for regionals as part of the third-place 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. The top four finishers in each event qualify for regionals.
Mia’s relay teammate junior Sieasia Triplett also qualified individually by winning the 400 dash by just under a second, with a time of 59.63.
“I knew I had to finish, I wanted to make it to regionals,” Triplett said. “I just had to keep pushing myself.”
Going into the third turn, Triplett was bunched in a group behind the leader. But, her closing speed allowed her to pull ahead and eventually pull away down the final stretch.
“I had to keep my speed going the whole way and I couldn’t come out too slow because I might not have been able to (climb back into it),” Triplett said.
Elsewhere for Girard, senior distance runner Ricky Marsico won the 800, breaking the district meet record with a time of 1:55.81. Marsico also qualified for regionals as part of the 4×400 relay and 4×800 relay teams.
The Indians’ boys 4×200 relay team finished fourth (1:34.04).
Garfield’s Stoller excels in hurdles, long jump
Garfield senior Ryan Stoller is a firm believer that form and technique is just as important as athleticism and speed when it comes to the hurdles.
“You have to be a different type of competitor,” he said. “At the end of the 300, if you don’t have good form, the people that have good form that are close to you are going to get you. You have to be disciplined. You have to want it — hurdles is such a fine motion, where one little slip costs you so you really have to be perfect every day.”
Stoller’s form was top notch Saturday, as he won the 300 hurdles (39.81) and finished as the runner up in the 110 hurdles by a mere two-hundredths of a second.
“I PR’d [personal record] in both events, so it’s a good day anyways,” Stoller said. “Both were lifetime PRs for me. It feels good to move on.”
The hurdles aren’t Stoller’s only events, however, as he also qualified for regionals in the 200 dash by taking fourth (22.93) and the long jump by finishing second.
Stoller wasn’t the only Garfield athlete to leave their mark — senior Zoe Turner was third in the 100 dash (13.44), second in the 200 dash (27.17) and second in the 400 (1:00.40), while senior Riley Laporte and junior Jesse Grace took second and third, respectively in the discus throw. Laporte was also runner up in the shot put.
NOTES: The Lakeview girls finished third in the team standings with 98 points, while the Garfield boys took fourth in their respective standings with 70 points…Lakeview girls won the 4×100 relay (51.18), were runners up in the 4×800 relay with a time of 10:08.90 and fourth in the 4×200 relay…Champion’s Mattie Fell was third in the 100 hurdles…Hubbard’s Landan Bates was third in the boys 110 hurdles…Lakeview’s Stasia Hall finished second in the 300 hurdles (48.01)…Lakeview’s Emily Bennett was third in the 3200 (12:44.49)…Champion’s Kennedy Grace was runner up in the discus throw.