Springfield’s Vecchione shines at district track and field meet

Staff photo / Preston Byers Springfield’s Ava Vecchione running during her 200-meter dash victory.

NEW MIDDLETOWN — Springfield girls track and field coach Kellie Page has high praise for senior Ava Vecchione.

“She’s the most amazing athlete I’ve ever had,” Page said. “She has heart and grit like nobody I’ve ever seen before.”

Springfield’s superstar has been setting personal records on the track and setting examples off of it.

Vecchione set a pair of PRs and took home two titles on Friday at the OHSAA Division III district meet at Springfield. She snagged first place in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, while finishing in second in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdle events.

Her times in the 100-meter dash (12.49 seconds) and 100-meter hurdles (15.72) are the best of her successful high school career. And after finishing in second by 0.02 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.75, Vecchione said she is on the right path in that event as well.

“In the 46s is where I want to be,” Vecchione said. “My PR from last year is a 46.1. This year, I ran a 46.6 like two weeks ago. So that’s definitely where I want to be at this point of the season.”

With her performances at the district meet, Vecchione has qualified for the regional meet in each of her four events, thus remaining on track to qualify for the state meet, which is set for the end of the month in Dayton.

Page remarked that fellow senior Emma Sanders, who finished third in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes Friday, has helped push Vecchione to keep improving.

“One of the best things for her this year, that’s helped her grow, is she’s always had Emma Sanders pushing her,” Page said. “Those two are going back and forth and back and forth. The competitiveness that they have with each other, it’s just making them both better this year.”

A multiple-time state qualifier already, Vecchione is attempting to not only qualify but place on the podium in Dayton this year. Whether she can manage to achieve her goals or not, both Page and Springfield boys track and field coach Sean Guerriero said Vecchione has had a profoundly positive impact on the Tigers’ program.

“She’s fantastic,” Guerriero said. “To have somebody like that, it’s easy to compare and keep that bar high.”

Vecchione said she is simply following in the footsteps of her elders.

“When I was an underclassman, I looked up to the girls who would go 100% every practice. They never really complained, so that’s what I try to do. I try, even if I’m having a rough day, I try to always give it my 100% effort. So then they look after me and they just see what success can come with going 100% every day at practice.”

Vecchione will compete in her four events in Creston at the Norwayne Division III regional meet, which begins Wednesday.


The Cardinal Mooney girls track and field team prevailed with the district title Thursday, finishing with 94 team points to edge out Springfield (86) and Crestview (85). Not every part of the Cardinals’ team is in full swing, however.

Mooney’s 4×200-meter relay team, in particular, which qualified for states last year and won the event at the district meet Thursday with a time of 1:48.63, has had a disjointed spring so far.

“We just had a couple of injuries,” anchor Sophia Diorio said. “So just this last week, we’re all running together now kind of the first time this year. So we’re hoping we could do better than last year. I think we’re on track.”

Diorio explained that the relay team usually consists of herself, Sam Rotunno, Talecia Huff and My’Kiah Jones, but the latter two have dealt with injuries and that Mooney ran the district relay with freshman Amira Stevens instead of Rotunno to maximize the Cardinals’ team points.

Diorio said she is confident in the relay team’s potential, partially due to their pre-existing chemistry from previous track and basketball seasons.


The Lowellville Rockets won the boys district championship at Springfield with a total of 108 points. Springfield finished in second with 95 points, while United rounded out the top three with 77 points.

Among the team’s several winners, Michael Ballone took home titles in the long jump, 4×400-meter relay, 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Nate Yon also won the 1600-meter run, while Ballone’s 4×400 relay partners Josh Pazel and Drew Modelski cleared the rest of the 400-meter dash field by nearly a second. Additionally, Modelski won the 200-meter dash.

Have an interesting story? Contact Preston Byers by email at pbyers@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @PresByers.


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