St. Clairsville Finishes Second at Ohio Regionals
By SETH STASKEY
For The News-Register
NEW CONCORD – The field for the Division II OHSAA State Track and Field Championship is officially set.
Regional action concluded Saturday afternoon and area competitors made the trip to McConagha Stadium on the campus of Muskingum University for the final day of competition.
Seventeen events later, three area relay teams and a host of individuals are making travel plans to Columbus later this week for the opening of the state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
St. Clairsville will be taking the area’s largest delegation.
The Red Devils continued their brilliant efforts in the month of May by finishing second overall with 54 points. They trailed only Thornville Sheridan, which took the lead by placing two in the 3200-meter run.
“Anytime you can come home with a piece of hardware at the regional, it’s a great day,” St. C. coach Ben Frye said. “I am very happy for our kids and with how many we advanced to Columbus.”
The Red Devils’ boys will be represented in six events this week.
Leading the way will be senior Jaylon Brown, who continues to leave the competition in the dust.
The Youngstown State football recruit will be entered in four events this week.
“Heading to the state meet after being on top of the (regional) podium in three events is a great feeling,” Brown said. “I am looking forward to seeing what I can do in the state meet.”
Brown will be one of the favorites this weekend in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. For the second straight weekend, Brown continued to shave time. And, for the second time this week, Brown re-wrote the Region 7 recordbook in the 100.
After blazing a 10.74 in the 100-meter semis on Thursday, Brown broke away from the other seven competitors early and didn’t look back en route to a 10.66.
For the third straight race in the 200, Brown lowered his personal best mark. After qualifying with a blistering 21.71, Brown smoked the field to a tune of a 21.55, which was nearly a full second ahead of his nearest competitor.
“It’s the right time of the year for dropping time,” Brown said. “I am starting to peak, the nice, hot weather is also helping me out.”
In between his individual sprints, Brown put forth quite a show as the anchor leg of the Red Devils’ 4×1.
Brown basically had to snag the baton out of mid air because of a tough exchange. After coralling the baton, Brown went to work. He picked off no fewer than three teams, including top-seeded Cambridge for a time of 43.64 and the gold medal.
Brown was joined on that team by Isiah Green, Jordan Vincent and Shane Peroni.
“The 4×1 is an exciting race, and since our handoff wasn’t the greatest, I believe we can get faster,” Brown said. “Being able to get to the top of the podium and helping to get my teammates to the state meet is a great feeling.”
Along with his track events, Brown and Vincent both qualified during Thursday’s action in the long jump.
St. Clairsville’s other two representatives have also known since Wednesday that they’d be competing again. Seniors Michael Eaton and Colby Lindsay will wear a Red Devils’ uniform once more, taking part in the pole vault and discus, respectively.
The St. C. girls also had a strong showing and will enter two events at the state meet.
Senior speedster Ayla Stewart continued her tremendous campaign by earning her first individual trip to Columbus. She sprinted down the track to a personal best time of 12.43 to finish third in the 100-meter dash.
The St. C. female version of the 4×1 will also be heading to the state meet. Stewart was joined on that team by Mechenzie Wood, Kennady Walker and Hannah Jordan.
For the second straight meet, the St. C. girls dipped under the 50-second barrier. They settled for silver with a 49.98.
“It was a great day for all of our athletes … both male and female,” Frye said. “They have been focused on the state tournament all year, so I am happy to see them peak when it matters the most.”
Martins Ferry’s boys will be represented in the state tournament with a relay and an individual.
The Purple Riders’ juggernaut 4×2 squad of Brian Styles, Hunter Hill, Andrew Watts and Jack Fitch just kept on keeping on in the two-lap relay.
The squad, which was seeded second entering the final, remained unblemished in its specialty, posting a 1:30.84.
Freshman Jacob Bishop is headed for his first state meet after cruising four laps in 4:28.74, dropping six seconds from his district title. That effort was good for the bronze medal.
Union Local’s lone representative, Austin Kemp, clinched his first state berth Thursday in the pole vault.
Steubenville’s Ja’Quan Lavender continued his mission in the 400-meter dash. He posted a 49.99 for the silver.
Junior Joey Nodianos is headed for the state high hurdle semifinals after finishing third in 15.05.
Big Red’s girls team will be represented quite well. The 4×2 team of Lysiah Rice, Elise Watts, Kira Newburn and Knisha Sanders posted a 1:46.18 to finish third.
Watts also advanced in the high hurdles, finishing third in 15.54 and in the long jump. She was fourth there with a mark of 16-10.
Indian Creek junior middle distance ace Max Lewis was a wire-to-wire leader in the 800-meter run. He circled the oval twice in 1:56.90, dropping nearly two full seconds from his district mark.
Redskins’ Whitney Martin is headed to her first state meet in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She was second in the 100 (12.36) and fourth in the 200 (25.27).
Freshman Madison Smith locked up the fourth spot in the 400-meter dash, posting a 60.19.
Edison’s Ashley Borsch will enter the state meet as a regional champion. He skimmed eight hurdles in 46.50 to win the 300 lows.