By: Kristy Booher Angelo, Associate Athletic Director
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The varsity track & field program recently competed at the OHSAA Division III District Championship at Cuyahoga Heights and earned championship honors in both the girls and boys fields. The girls scored 150 points, nearly doubling the total of its nearest competitor, while the boys totaled 139 points, which was 66 points higher than the second-place team.
In field events, the boys were led by district champion CJ Charleston '19 in the long jump. His second jump of 22 feet 6¾ inches earned him the title. Teammate Anthony Gillespie '20 jumped a season-best 17 feet 4 inches. In shot put, Jack Kosar '19 and Ryan Gondek '19 earned third and fourth place, respectively. Kosar's throw measured 44 feet 9 inches and Gondek's throw came in at 44 feet 1 inch. CJ Johnson '22 threw an impressive PR of 121 feet 2 inches to place fourth.
In the field events for the girls side, Brinn MacLellan '21 cleared the 5-foot-mark to earn second place in the high jump. Annika Corcoran '19 defended her district title in the long jump by jumping 16 feet 3 inches. Jocelyn Carter '21 jumped 15 feet 6 ¾ inches to earn fourth place. Mackenzie Palinski '21 earned district runner-up honors in discus with a throw of 114 feet and earned fifth place in shot with a throw of 32 feet 4½ inches. Bridgit Terry '21 recorded a PR in discus with a throw of 62 feet.
In the running events, the girls started off with a district championship in the 4x800 relay. Upperclassman Jorja Hlifka '20 and Katie Engle '19 bookended the relay with first-year performers Mary Lombardo '22 and Nina Padanilam '22 running close to their season-best time. The boys quartet of Tyler Clark '19, Connor Gerspacher '19, Nathan Reichard '20 and Tim Diemer '19 followed suit, winning their 4x800 race easily.
Karah Henderson '22 won the 100 hurdles and had a short turn-around to place third in a tough 100 field. She also placed second in the 300 hurdles after running a strong leg on the winning 4x100 relay. Madison Olsen '20 had one of the most impressive two-day tournaments for the Lancers. She qualified in the 400 with a season-best time to earn second place, and in the 200 in third place. She also anchored both the 4x200 and 4x400 relays, winning an amazing battle down the stretch to close out the meet in the 4x400.
Hlifka gave a superstar effort, with good splits in the two winning relays of 4x800 and 4x400 while also finishing with a flurry to capture the 800. Engle recorded two runner-up finishes in the 1600 and 800 and helped the 4x400 relay advance to finals. Kaleigh McNamara '22 stepped up in a big way, running a big PR to qualify third in the 400 and running strong legs on the winning 4x200 and 4x400 relays. Sophia Giancola '20 was one of two relay specialists for the girls, running on all three sprint relays. She stepped up to run a season-best split on the 4x400. Leilani Zeller '20 had strong legs on both the 4x200 and 4x100 races. The girls 4x200 ran a season-best 1:48 with Zeller, McNamara, Giancola and Olsen. In the 4x100 the quartet of Zeller, Henderson, Giancola and Corcoran took first. Kai Logan '22 had a heroic effort in the 300 hurdles, fighting off a misstep to finish eighth. Completing the girls distance races were Caitrina Barton '21 and Alannah Barton '19, who competed well to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 3200.
The boys were led by seniors throughout the running events. Clark had a great meet. After his strong leg on the 4x800, he ran away from the field to win the 1600 and 3200. Diemer closed quickly to earn runner-up honors in the 1600 and ran away from the field to win the 800 in addition to running a strong leg on the 4x400. Cole Durdella '20 ran a strong first lap before fading down the homestretch to earn fifth in his 800. Gerspacher had an inspired run in the 3200, finishing in third. Garret Tomasek '19 ran a PR into a headwind and was just out-leaned in the 110 high hurdles to earn fifth place. He placed fifth in the 300 hurdles to earn big team points. Andre Rodgers '21, trying to complete the sprint quad, won the first half, winning the 100 and 400. He then earned runner-up honors in the 200 before running out of gas. Bryson Simpson '20 was asked to step up and he did, running the 4x400 along with Reichard, Diemer and Craig Wilson '20 to place third. Reichard followed his 4x800 relay to run a strong 400, finishing fifth. The boys 4x200 relay team of Simpson, Charleston, Wilson and Reichard placed fifth, while the 4x100 relay of Simpson, Charleston, Wilson and Sean Hodges '22 placed fourth to advance.
Qualifying athletes advance to the regional championship to compete for a bid to the state championship.
Here is a complete lists of Lancers who qualified for the Massillon Perry Regional:
CJ Charleston '19 – Long jump
Tyler Clark '19 - 1600, 3200
Tim Diemer '19 - 800
Connor Gerspacher '19 - 3200
Ryan Gondek '19 - Shot Put
CJ Johnson '22 - Discus
Jack Kosar '19 - Shot Put
Andre Rodgers '21 - 100, 200, 400
Relays: 4x800, 4x100, 4x400
Jocelyn Carter '21 – Long jump
Annika Corocoran '19 – Long jump
Katie Engle '19 - 1600, 800
Karah Henderson '22 - 100H, 100, 300H
Jorja Hlifka '20 - 800
Brinn MacLellan '21 – High jump
Kaleigh McNamara '22 - 400
Madison Olsen '20- 400, 200
Mackenzie Palinski '21 - Discus
Relays: 4x800, 4x200, 4x100, 4x400