Salem enjoys another year of success at district meet

SALEM – Rylee Hutton crossed the finish line, raised her arms in victory and flashed a big smile in the direction of her teammates.

Hutton and her fellow Salem girls track and field standouts put the finishing touches on a dominant performance at the Division II District championships at Sebo Stadium in the 4×400-meter relay. The quartet, which also included Annika Murray, Maggie Hopple and Maggie Hall, won by close to 50 meters in a school-record time of 4 minutes, 0.83 seconds.

They shaved nearly two seconds off the old 4×400 school record as the Quakers scored 132 points to win the district title for the third consecutive year.

Salem will send individuals in 10 events, including six district champions, and three relays to next week’s regional championship at Austintown Fitch. The Quakers were regional runners-up in 2023.

Hutton, a senior who intends to play three sports at the University of Mount Union, will be in the thick of it. She qualified third in the long jump (17 feet, 4 inches) and fourth in the 400 (59.65) and is on Salem’s 4×800 and 4×400 relays.

Not bad for someone battling hamstring and shin issues since last season.

“Everyone has their different events, but we all come together for the 4×400,” Hutton said. “Just to break the [4×400] record with all those girls is just amazing. We have a lot of fun together.”

Hutton will be joined at the regional by double winners Maggie Hall (800, 2:20.10, and 1600, 5:11.98) and Kaylee Carlisle (discus and shot put). Megan Stafford won the 3200 (11:15.25) and Madolyn Gorby, a freshman, won the high jump on Thursday.

Carlisle’s winning distance (138-2) was more than 20 feet farther than the runner-up, Raegan Daugintis of Field (117-10), and is a personal record.

Maggie Hopple was runner-up to her teammate in both the 800 and 1600 by less than a half-second. The Quakers’ 4×200 relay also advanced.

Salem coach Bethany Glasser said the weekend’s success was the result of a year-long process.

“This is the standard,” Glasser said of the district title, “and they know it’s the standard. Last year, we were regional runner-up for the first time in school history, so we’re looking to repeat that, if not do a little better. But however it shakes out and however we can get the most girls out is really the ultimate goal.”

Marlington won the boys team championship, scoring 132 points to runner-up Field’s 107. The Dukes have an exceptional distance program, qualifying all four relays (winning the 4×800 and 4×400) and senior Colin Cernansky set meet records in winning the 1600 and 3200. Diontae Lester, also a senior, swept the discus and shot put.

The most emotional scene, though, belonged to South Range’s 4×400 relay, which finished third in 3:27.07.

The Raiders’ senior standout, Hudson Moorefield, suffered a hamstring injury in the semifinals of the 200 on Thursday. Earlier, he had qualified for the 400 finals with the best time (49.50) and was a member of the 4×200 relay.

His teammate and classmate, Logan Butcher, was the second-best qualifier in the 400 and also a member of the 4×400 relay. Saturday, he finished second in the 400 (49.63).

“Heath Crouse stepped up for us in place of Moorefield,” Butcher said. “I’m just so proud of the guys to work hard. We prayed before; we said this is something we’ve got to work for, not for ourselves but for our teammate.”

The Raiders also qualified Emmitt Slabach, who was second in the 1600 (4:19.24); Charles Reigrut, third in the 3200 (9:47.33), and Troy Combs, third in the 100 (11.15). South Range also regrouped without Moorefield in the 4×200 relay to finish third (1:30.62).

Salem’s Hunter Owen was third in the shot put (47-3) and Parker Warren was fourth in the 300 hurdles (42.14). The Quakers also qualified their 4×100 relay, which placed fourth (44.20).

For Ursuline, Michael Charles was third in the 400 (50.85) and the 4×100 relay was second (44.10).

Poland’s AJ Lisko finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.87).

Canfield’s Ava Littler won the 100 hurdles (14.51) and finished third in the 300 hurdles (45.87). She slowed toward the finish line in the latter race after feeling her hamstring tighten but expects to be ready for both races next weekend.

Also qualifying for the Cardinals was Lauren Runion, who was fourth in the 1600 (5:24.25), and Linsey Plant, third in the 800 (2:23.35).

West Branch’s Sophia Gregory advanced in the 200 with a fourth-place finish (26.41) and anchored the Warriors’ 4×100 (second, 49.81), 4×200 (second, 1:45.39) and 4×400 (third, 4:14.80) relays.

Poland’s Katie Biggs advanced in the discus, finishing third (106.4).


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