Eagles overcome adversity to share victory

NAVARRE – John F. Kennedy’s hopes for a team title didn’t die with the disqualification of the 4×400-meter relay at the Division III Springfield District.

In fact, the Eagles made the most of the situation and won its first Division III Navarre Regional title since 2007 Friday at Fairless High School.

JFK tied South Range for the regional crown, each having 50 points.

“I knew our guys would respond to that challenge,” JFK coach Robert Andrews said. “It’s disappointing to have it happen two years in a row to one of the best 4x400s. But, we preach and talk about adversity. That was an adverse situation we had to overcome.

“I’m happy. I’m not taking it for granted. I believe they could overcome a situation like that.”

John F. Kennedy’s 4×200 team of Rob Seger, Carl Zallow, Zach Watt and Chad Zallow took first in a time of 1 minute, 29.52 seconds. It was personal best time for the Eagles.

“It was awesome. I’m looking forward to state in that,” Carl Zallow said.

Chad Zallow won the 110 hurdles (14.20) and 300 hurdles (38.51) – .02 seconds off the regional record in both events.

“I wasn’t going for the record, I was going for the win. I still have two more years to go for that,” Chad Zallow said. “Next year, I’ll go for it for sure.”

Carl Zallow took the 100 title in convincing fashion (10.92).

“The big thing was my start,” he said. “I had a strong indoor season going 6.9 in the 60. I knew my start was one of the best. After 60 meters, all that was on my mind was a finish because I knew the first 60 I’ll be up there for sure.”

The 4×100 relay didn’t qualify for state, finishing fifth. The top four in each regional final advanced to next weekend’s state meet in Columbus.

So, it came down to Zach Watt to pull the Eagles closer to team glory. He took third in the 400 (50.15).

“Zach has come out of the shadow of the other runners and stepped up,” Andrews said. “One of the things we want from our guys is to stand on your own, get out in your individual race. Zach met that challenge.

“We really though we had something special and had a chance to do something in Columbus.”

South Range’s Andrew O’Leary did something special as well as he pulled the Raiders to a share of the regional title. He ran a regional record in the 400 (48.11).

He also anchored the boys 4×400, which took third and helped South Range amass 50 points.

“You’ve got to give it to O’Leary,” Andrews said. “I’ve watched this guy all year. My son was a pretty good 400 runner and this guy is right there. Incredible. You’ve got to compliment him and praise him for his efforts.”

DOUBLE WINNER: John F. Kennedy’s Morgan Rice kept on winning 100 and 300 hurdles titles Friday, distancing herself from the competition with times of 15.15 and 45.33, respectively.

“I just channel all my nervous energy and just go,” Rice said. “Don’t look back and run as fast as I can. Just keep pushing.”

McDONALD TAKES THIRD: The Blue Devils boys and girls team, which won the Division III Springfield District team titles last week, both took third. The boys were one point behind South Range and JFK with 49 points.

Meanwhile, the girls scored 43 points. Gilmour Academy won the team title with 53.5 points, while Steubenville Catholic Central was second with 46.’

McDonald’s girls also qualified its 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relays.

BREAKING HIS OWN MARK: Maplewood’s Wyatt Hartman broke his own regional record in the 800. He didn’t run the 1,600 at regionals and ran a personal best time of 1:54.48. His previous best was 1:54.76.

“I wanted to go out second or third through that first 400,” Hartman said. “This year I think I’ve been going out too fast. I’ve been dying. I really wanted to focus on changing gears at the 400 mark. At 200, I wanted to get that next gear. I think I was able to do that well today.”

Also, the Rockets were fourth in the team standings with 41 points.

Gilmour Academy’s Alexander Clapacs, who ran 1:54.78, tried to stay with Hartman.

“It’s fun to race against someone like that who can push you,” Hartman said. “Kudos to him. He really came out of nowhere. I knew he was good, but these last two weeks he’s been really impressive.”

JUMP FOR STATE: Badger’s Leah Blaney was sitting fifth before her final of three long jumps in finals. Blaney is the defending regional champion. Friday, she showed why.

Blaney popped off a jump of 17 feet, 1.5 inches to win her second straight regional title.

“It’s exciting. It’s really awesome,” she said. “I wasn’t too concerned at first. I just wanted to make it. It’s a good feeling to be able to win it again.”

Blaney passed Bristol’s Olivia Pilon, who was the leading the event. Pilon took second with a personal best jump of 16-9.25.

“It’s pretty amazing. I never knew I’d be here,” Pilon said.

OTHER AREA STATE QUALIFIERS: BOYS – High Jump: McDonald’s Zack Conley and Ursuline’s Preston Williams; 110 hurdles: Mineral Ridge’s Casey Porter; 1,600: McDonald’s Patrick Kunkel; 4×200 relay: South Range (Adam Meloy, Joe Alessi, Jake Arsuffi, Tanner Greene); 800: Kunkel, Maplewood’s Derek Morrison; 200: Ursuline’s Marcus Mosley; 3,200: South Range’s Tim Nichols; McDonald’s Bobby Johnson; 4×400 relay: Maplewood (Wyatt Hartman, Solomon Yoder, Derek Morrison, Scott Rupe), South Range (Adam Meloy, Cole Krumpak, Jake Arsuffi, Andrew O’Leary). GIRLS – Discus: McDonald’s Jai’Lyn Mosley and Tory Ross; 4×200 relay: McDonald (Frankie Humphries, Iva Domitrovich, Sara Joseph, Joya Humphries); 4×100 relay: McDonald (F. Humphries, Domitrovich, Joseph, J. Humphries) 50.25; 400: Badger’s Jennilyn Krumpe; 300 hurdles: Brookfield’s Tori Thompson; 800: Maplewood’s Erin Pavick; 4×400 relay: McDonald (Domitrovich, Sarah Jones, J. Humphries, Abby D’Amore); John F. Kennedy (Natalie Ambrosy, Natalie Hoso, Nina Macali, Rice).