Welcome to the Little State Meet. Wednesday's Division I Austintown Track and Field Regional has the reputation as the toughest regional in the state. Thanks to the plethora of talent trickling in from northeast Ohio (especially the Cleveland area), it's no wonder why more state champions come out of this area than any other.
Warren G. Harding and Austintown Fitch. Both teams lead this area in talent entering the meet, which will be the WGH boys and girls have some of the fastest times in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays and Fitch has the defending Division I shot put and discus state champion in Ali Tolich leading a plethora of talented boys and girls.Wednesday has a couple of finals and the rest preliminaries and Friday with all finals.
Also, look for Howland's Katie Chambers (800-meter run), Dan Moody (throws), Nia Grant (high jump) and Chaney's Shatasia Walker (100 hurdles) to excel as well.
As for the Division II Regional at Ravenna Stadium, Lakeview's boys have about everything covered in their events - distance to sprints, relays to throws and even jumps and vaults. This Bulldogs team is more balanced than the one in 2009, which was runner-up in the state that season.
It all starts Thursday with the Bulldogs' 4x800 team, making another push to go back to the state meet in Columbus. The meet ends Saturday with all finals being contested.
Individually, look for LaBrae's Andre Elkins in the long jump, Newton Falls' Destiny Prusky (high jump) and Jen Bjelac (multiple events) and Niles' 4x100 team to make a push for state, just to name a few.
Then, there is Lakeview junior Lauren Schattinger, who is the best female sprinter in the area. She won the district 100-meter dash, but was tested by finishing third in the 200. The top four in each district event advanced to regionals.
As for the Division III Navarre Fairless Regional, McDonald's boys and girls will dominate the event. Frankly, the Blue Devil boys team is the odds-on favorite to capture a regional title. The last time a Trumbull County team won a regional title was last year's WGH boys team and the Raiders went on to win the Division I state championship.
The McDonald girls should finish in the top five.
Like the D-I Regional, some finals will be Wednesday and the rest of the finals are Friday.
John F. Kennedy also has strong representation at this year's D-III regional, mainly in the relays and sprints. JFK, also won state in 2004 and 07 in the 4x200 relay.
Other athletes to look for are Maplewood's Wyatt Hartman in the 800 and 1,600, LaBrae's Megan Gunther in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Lordstown's Mark Bahrey in the discus, Badger's duo of Audra Fredenburg (800) and Jennilyn Krumpe (300 hurdles) and Mineral Ridge's Dan Skiba (high jump and long jump).