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Bound for states: Lakeview, Garfield, Girard all send athletes to D-II state meet from regionals

Staff photo / Greg Macafee Lakeview's Charles Pawlosky prepares to hurl the shot put during Saturday's regional meet at Austintown Fitch High School.

AUSTINTOWN — As soon as the shot put landed and made a thud in the gravel at Austintown Fitch, Lakeview’s Charles Pawlosky let out a loud yell in celebration.

He had just launched a throw of 59 feet, 10 inches, and thought that it might be good enough to bring home a regional title.

The senior thrower, who finished third in the shot put last year, was right.

“I had a feeling that it was going to be good enough, and at least close enough to get me out of regionals and it was a big PR,” Pawlosky said. “It was a foot-and-a-half PR, so I was really happy when I threw that.”

It was a competitive day in general in the throwing pit as the top three finishers all threw over 59-feet, with Garfield’s Riley Laporte finishing in third and Akron Manchester’s Josiah Cox finishing in second. Pawlosky said having that type of competition next to him throughout the day only pushes him more, which helped him record a new personal record by a foot-and-a-half.

“I was very happy to come away with the regional title, it was a very tough region with three 59-footers, which is pretty insane,” Pawlosky said, “But I’m very happy to win the region after being second last year.

“It’s always nice to have really good competition because it always pushes you to the next level. I’m excited to see both of those guys at states next weekend too.”

After his third-place finish at states last year with a toss of 55-7, Pawlosky is looking to take another step this season.

“This was a big improvement from last week and almost a two-foot PR so hopefully I can go another two-feet next week at states, he said.”

A GOAL ACCOMPLISHED

Garfield’s Riley LaPorte has been working towards Garfield’s school record in the shot put for quite some time. He’s put in the work outside of regular practice hours, and in the offseason after football. On Saturday, LaPorte finally accomplished that goal with a toss of 59-0.25, beating the old school record of 58-10.5.

“It felt amazing, I’ve been looking forward to it since I started throwing,” LaPorte said. “I can’t really express it enough. I’m so happy that I got it today and I knew it was coming.

“I’ve been working hard for it, especially in the weight room, I’ve been lifting a lot and I’ve been training a lot ever since football season. I just pushed myself because I knew that one day I would get it and today was that day.”

LaPorte placed third in the shot put on Saturday to qualify for the state meet and is hoping that he can take it one step further in Columbus.

“I’m still looking forward to the state meet next week and hopefully I can hit 60 (feet in the shot put),” LaPorte said. “I’m throwing 60’s in practice so I know it’s in the tank and I can hit it.”

LaPorte also qualified for the state meet in the discus with a toss of 157-04 on Thursday.

TWO HURDLE TICKETS PLEASE

Ryan Stoller is heading to the state meet in both hurdle events next weekend.

After qualifying as the top seed in the 110-meter hurdles on Thursday, Stoller clocked a 15.07 on Saturday, less than a second slower than his qualifying time, to place fourth. Ursuline’s Clancy Chrystal placed third to qualify for states with a time of 14.96.

Stoller’s placement stayed the same for the 300 hurdles with a clocking of 39.59.

LEAPING INTO STATES

Girard’s Dom Malito has been a mainstay in the jumping events on the local scene this year and now he’ll have an opportunity to show off his talents at the state meet after qualifying in the long jump on Thursday and the high jump on Saturday.

With a leap of 22 feet, 4.75 inches on Thursday, Malito placed second in the long jump behind Ryne Shackelford from Keystone, who recorded a jump of 23 feet, 7.50 inches. and is the defending state champion. Malito also finished seventh in the event last year.

On Saturday, Malito came in third place in the high jump behind Glenville’s Jermaine Foster and Brookside’s Jaycob Koolleda. Foster recorded a jump of 6-5, while Kolleda finished at 6-4. Malito’s highest jump was 6-3.

BREAKING FROM THE PACK

The look on his face down the backstretch of the 800-meter race at the Division II Youngstown Regional meet on Saturday afternoon said it all.

Girard’s Ricky Marsico was coming home with another regional title and he did it in convincing fashion against a tough field. Finishing just over a second faster than runner-up Brian Bates from Chardon NDCL, Marsico clocked a 1:54.74 to cross the finish line first and punch his ticket to the state meet next weekend in Columbus.

“This region is just so much harder than last year and there are so many more people up front,” Marsico said. “It just felt nice to get into the last lane straightaway and just kind of open up through the finish line.”

His first-place finish didn’t come easy though. During the first 500 meters of the race, Marsico found himself grouped together and boxed in on the inside lane with a few other runners.

It was a position that he’s never found himself in before, but he tried to remain calm and waited for his moment to strike.

“There was definitely a little bit of panic, knowing you have like six guys all around you but it ended up working out pretty well,” Marsico said.

With about 300 meters remaining in the race, Marlington’s Colin Cernansky kicked out to the front of the race and started to build a lead. That was when Marsico made his move.

“All my best times come when I have people to chase down so that definitely helped me,” Marsico said. “I get excited when I see people go out because I know those times show when you have competition.”

He bounced to the outside from his inside lane position and turned on his final kick, reigning in the leaders easily. The wiry Girard senior took the lead around the 200 mark and then held off the rest of the pack down the backstretch as a big smile flashed across his face.

Marsico knew what he had just done.

“With my 800’s I work on a 300-meter kick,” Marsico said. “So with my experience on that kick, it helped me get through those people because, to be honest, I’ve never been boxed in like that before. So that was a very new experience for me.”

Now, Marsico will turn his attention to the state meet next week in Columbus, where he finished as a runner-up last year. This season, since it will be his last trip to states, it’s all about leaving it all out on the track.

“Just go for it. It’s the last race of senior year so I just want to make it a good one,” Marsico said.

BACK TO STATES

As a freshman last season, West Branch’s Sophia Gregory made a run to the state track meet in two events, qualifying as an individual in the 400 and as a team in the 4×200 relay.

Now, Gregory will do it again.

On Saturday, Gregory placed third in the 400 with a time of 57.92, less than a second behind first-place finisher Tay’onia Whitaker from Buchtel.

Despite her success as an individual, which Gregory is excited about, she said she is more excited about the team aspect of the 4×200 relay. The relay team of Gregory, Kennedy Berger, Lauren Gossett and Anna Lippiatt, clocked a 1:44.84 to finish fourth and earn the final qualifying spot for the state meet.

They edged out the 4×200 team from Girard by .08 seconds.

“We’re very excited, it was so fun last year,” Gregory said.

In the year since their fifth-place finish at states, Gregory believes the relay team has improved a lot as they have already beaten their state time from last year. Now, it’s all about going out and giving their all.

“We already got our PR from last year, so we’ve already got our state time from last year so I think we’ve come a long way,” Gregory said. “I’m hoping we can drop it another second or two.”

NOTES: Girard’s Nic Bengala and Clancy Chrystal finished just outside the qualifying range in the 300 hurdles, placing 5th and 6th respectively…The girls 4 x 100 relay team from West Branch placed 3rd with a time of 50.58 to qualify for states…Girard’s Mia Malito placed second in the high jump by clearing 5-2…Champion’s Kennedy Grace just missed out on states with a throw of 116-03 in the discus, two feet short of the 4th place finisher.

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