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Kennedy 4×200 captures 2nd place

DAYTON — On Thursday, Warren JFK’s 4×200 relay team qualified for the OHSAA Division III finals with a time of 1:30.93, good enough for second in the Eagles’ heat but the slowest of any qualifying time.

Fortunately, Kennedy had “luck” on its side.

“We just got lucky No. 7,” Jaylen Murray said.

Murray was referring to lane seven, where the Eagles — Murray, Noah Elser, Nate Cuckovich and Marcus Komora — found themselves in for the relay. And as luck would have it, JFK stunned the field with a blistering time of 1:29.94, earning a second-place finish.

To Noah Elser, Friday’s result was no surprise.

“We all know we could have been one,” Elser said. “What happened yesterday, other teams just ran good. We didn’t run our best. But we turned that around today.”

SALEM 4×800 CLAIMS 2ND

Last year, Salem’s girls 4×800-meter relay team narrowly missed out on the podium, placing ninth after being edged out by Minerva for eighth by 0.66 seconds. This year, the Quakers entered the Division II state meet as a middle-of-the-road seed, logically putting them right around where they ended up a year ago.

Things were much different in Dayton on Friday than they were in Columbus last year, however, as Maggie Hall, Maggie Hopple, Megan Stafford and Rylee Hutton not only grabbed a spot on the podium but far exceeded their expectations with a second-place finish in the first event of the day.

“We just wanted to podium this year,” Stafford said. “We fell short last year with ninth place, so our goal this year was podiums. We weren’t expecting that at all. I think it was just a big surprise.”

While the result was unexpected, the effort from the Quakers, who won the regional title last weekend, was not.

“We came in knowing at least every girl is gonna put it out on that track,” Hopple said. “It was just great to make good memories with all these girls along the trip. It’s been very fun so far.”

AREA PLACERS

As Division III finished up its events and Division I and II began theirs, numerous area athletes stood on the podium Friday.

Cardinal Mooney’s Sammy Rotunno (fifth) and Mineral Ridge’s Ava Hulett (seventh) each placed in the girls 300-meter hurdles, while Heartland Christian sophomore Rebecca Geiss earned fourth in the girls 3200-meter run. Other placers include Lowellville’s Drew Modelski in the boys 200-meter dash, Maplewood’s Andrew Donaldson in the 800-meter run, LaBrae’s 4×100-meter relay team, Brookfield’s Christian Davis in the 400-meter dash and the boys 4×400-meter relay teams from Mooney and Springfield.

POETIC ENDING

Mia Malito has been to the state meet all four years of her high school career as a field athlete, but one prize has eluded her as an individual — a podium finish. She was part of a stellar 4×100 squad that took second last year in Columbus, but now she can add some hardware from the long jump into the trophy case.

Taking sixth in the long jump, marking a 17-9.25, Malito had a lengthy afternoon with the high jump and 4×100 tossed into the mix.

“I worked really hard in the long jump, so it means a lot to me. This is my first time ever making it to state in the long jump, and I placed the first time, so I’m excited about that,” Malito said. “I’ve had really good practices this week, and I couldn’t have done it without my coaches. We had really hard practices this week, and I just had a lot of confidence. My coaches believed in me, so it made it a lot easier for me to go out there and jump.”

She placed 12th in the high jump, clearing a bar of 5-2, while racing for a Girard 4×100 team that placed 13th in the trials at 49.88.

Whether it be good luck, or otherwise, Malito ends her Indians career at the same campus that her Flyers career will begin. She’s committed to the University of Dayton for track, and the temporary move to Welcome Stadium for a single state track meet was one that Malito soaked in.

“It’s exciting. My whole family got to walk around campus and be in the atmosphere. It’s really exciting. I got to show my coaches around and I’m really excited to get down here pretty soon,” Malito added.

IMPROVEMENT OVER

LAST JUNE

The Salem Quakers girl’s track and field team started Friday morning with the 4×800 runner-up performance, so it was only natural that senior Kaylee Carlisle joined the fray on the podium. A mark of 135-0 during the discus earned her fifth place, ahead of her seventh place finish at Ohio State last June, tossing the disc nearly 15 more feet than last year.

Her fifth-place finish also accounts for the fact she competed in the shot put earlier in the morning, an event she never made it to at the state level.

“I did foul on my first throw, so it was a little nerve wracking, but I just did what I also do and tried to remain calm and that’s when I hit my 135,” Carlisle said. “I didn’t really have high expectations (for the shot put) because I was coming in dead last, but I ended up not being dead last at second to last, but I wasn’t mad about it. I don’t think I’m going to throw it in college.

“I’m so happy and proud of myself and I worked so hard, I was actually pretty surprised to make it in shot put, but I’m just really proud with both of my performances.”

Scratching on the first attempt is never a pleasant feeling, especially in front of a large crowd of spectators, but Carlisle just focused on throwing well.

“I actually had a little help from our state champion (Norton’s) Morgan Hallett, she was over there calming me down, just reminding me just to do my thing and stay calm,” Carlisle said. “It’s honestly so special. The environment is so awesome. All of the girls are so sweet and so nice, it makes me feel good. I just feel like I have a lot of support with all of the girls being so nice.”

Carlisle will don the blue and gold of Kent State this fall, continuing her throwing career with the Golden Flashes.

CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY

Two days have been completed at the OHSAA state meet in Dayton, and now, just one remains.

A host of Division I and II athletes are set for competition Saturday, including Canfield’s Ava Littler (100-meter hurdles) and Austintown Fitch freshman Brayden Bryant.

Events will begin at 10 a.m. at Welcome Stadium.

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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