Fitch freshman Bryant helps power Falcons to district title

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Austintown Fitch freshman Brayden Bryant celebrates after winning the 100-meter dash at Friday’s district meet at Austintown Fitch. He also won the 200.

AUSTINTOWN — The postseason for track and field is upon the Mahoning Valley, with a slew of athletes starting to punch their tickets to the regional round following two days of action at Austintown Fitch this week. Schools such as Boardman, Canfield, Howland, Austintown Fitch, and Chaney have athletes advancing to the next round. The top four finishers in each event move on to regional action next week.

The Falcons boys squad earned team title honors with 104 points.


Falcons senior Dan Evans III is no stranger to the biggest stage, having made his trip to Columbus last June on Austintown’s 4×100 squad, but as he makes the push to regionals as an individual, a new face in the crowd made his presence well known.

Fitch freshman Brayden Bryant earned wins in the 100 (10.82s), and the 200 (22.14s), edging Evans who earned second in the 100 at 11.05 himself.

The freshman-senior duo were all smiles following their one-two finish in the 100.

“I feel happy right now, I made sure I got top four, but came out in first place and PRed, and I had my teammates (Evans) right here to push me, so I made sure I did my job,” Bryant said. “It just pushes me a lot more. If I get to PR and do whatever it takes to get to regionals or to state as a freshman, I don’t want to say it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s just confidence.

“I definitely belong here with some of these other guys, I can compete with them, I can compete with anybody.”

Evans knows how difficult the journey to state is, but sees Bryant as someone who he can build himself off of.

“I feel like with my experience, I feel like there’s a lot that I can give him from just being in these types of situations, but with him being younger, it pushes me to try and get that first-place spot. We’re not giving it up easy, we’re on the same team, but we’re still competing.

“We love being here (at Fitch) every year, it’s a God-given blessing to be here and come run at our home track.”

The duo, along with Deonte Stallings and Treavion Davis earned gold in the 4×100, clocking a 42.60. Austintown’s 4×200 team of Zack Reents, Robert Maderitz, Jose Crespo and Davis advanced to next week with a third-place finish of 1:30.95.


Fitch junior Deonte Stallings sustained an injury last spring, which culminated in a district prelims exit the last time the postseason rolled around. Taking advantage of the opportunity at hand now, he earned a victory in the 300 hurdles, clocking a 39.02, beating Solon’s Antonio Coleman II by .01.

Coleman edged Stallings in the 110 hurdles, the foes placing one-two to start the boys running finals events. Stallings also helped win the team’s 4×100 district crown and was just happy to support his team.

“I got out slow (on the 300), it wasn’t a great start, but on hurdle one-two-three, everybody was getting up to me, so I was like hold on, I need to lock in, I just kept my form, like my coach says, high knees, pump your arms, and went with the flow and had a great race,” Stallings said. “In the second to last hurdle, (Coleman) had like a meter or two on me, I looked up, it was 33.1. I was running for myself because I knew I already qualified, but I wanted to run faster, so I kicked and pushed, crossed the last hurdle and just threw my body, and just went with the flow.

“I always knew I was one of those guys, but what can I do to help support the team, and then coming down to the couple of events, I knew that I would have to be one of those guys eventually to help my team get a win like this. In the 300 hurdle, that’s something I take very seriously. I think I’m personally one of the best in the state at hurdles, so I had to show everybody I can do something and I’m not a one hit wonder for real.”


Following Wednesday’s preliminary action, Boardman senior Aiden Berg was seeded first in the 400 finals, having the pressure being at the top of the pack. Taking home the silver with second at 50.69, Berg moves onto the next round, alongside freshman teammate Robrick Taylor (50.95).

“Seeded first, you want to hold your spot, but I’m glad to get to come out next week and run again against some really good guys. Could have had a better start, I think I could have gotten out a little bit faster, but it is what it is,” Berg said. “In your mind you don’t want to let people down when they hold you to a high standard, you just have to run your race. Don’t worry about anybody else, don’t have that time in your head, just run what you run and keep working at it and get to next week.”

Berg has seen some of the best the state has to offer when he made the state indoor meet in 2023 on the 4×400, but is eager for the opportunity to potentially book a trip to Dayton for outdoors next week.

“This is a really tough district, these guys are amazing out here doing what they do, I give them credit. That’s why you can’t keep your head down, these are good guys. You’re not going to be the best everytime, so I’m just happy to run aside all of my teammates and opponents. I love these guys, even talk before the race, encouraging each other. That’s what track and field is all about, it’s competitive, but once you cross that finish line, it’s all over.”

Berg also moved on in the 4×400, earning a second place finish of 3:23.74, along with fellow Spartans Ethan Boots, Brock Farris and Taylor.


Earning event wins were Canfield’s Blake Baker (3200, 9:23.54), Boardman’s Brock Farris (800, 1:54.68), along with Boardman’s 4×800 title on Wednesday (David D’Altorio, Adam Nigro, Ethan Boots, Brock Farris, 7:57.42), Boardman’s Santino Radjukovic (discus, 147-2), Harding’s Nau’jeat Jones (long jump, 21-4.75) and Fitch’s Harrison Spalding (pole vault, 13-6).

Have an interesting story? Contact the Sports Department by email at sports@tribtoday.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribChronSports.


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