Vindicator Logo

These athletes have a penchant for the podium

Saturday, July 3, 2004

School/grade: Girard, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Three-time state champion in 100- and 200-meter dashes, breaking her own state records in both events at state meet; state champion in long jump; three-time district and regional champion in 100 and 200; two-time long jump champion; holds district and regional records in all three events.
Name a person who has been a positive influence in your athletic career: God, my family and friends, because without them, there would be no me. My grandma because she has been there through the good and bad and will always be there.
Best memory from the season: Winning the state title in the long jump. It was the best feeling in the world. Also, breaking the record in the 100 and 200 again, standing on the first place podium and overcoming a hamstring injury.
Something people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn: My favorite sport is basketball.
School/grade: Western Reserve, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: State qualifier in shot and discus; MVP of Western Reserve Invitational; county champion in shot and discus (best throws in all divisions); Inter-County League champion in discus and second in shot; holds school record in discus.
Positive influence: Coach Lou Speece. He has been there for me since eighth grade and has gotten me this far. I thank him for all his time working with me and I'm going to miss him next year.
Best memory: When I broke the school record in the discus (123-8) at the regional meet and making it to state in the shot and discus.
Surprised to learn: I am very organized. I have a daily planner and I budget my money well. My room is almost always clean; if it is not, it drives me crazy. Also, I'm not a big fan of eating any type of chocolate.
School/grade: Warren JFK, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Placed first in discus at Steel Valley Conference, Diocesan, Trumbull County and district meets. Two-time state qualifier in the discus, finishing eighth at state meet and third at regional meet. Placed third in shot put at district meet. Will attend Saint Francis University on track and field scholarship.
Positive influence: My coach, Tim McNeil. He was an inspiration to me and just wanted me to do my best. My coach, Ed Wilson, pushed me to try hard and just let it sail. And my parents for their support and encouragement.
Best memory: Competing at the state meet and being on the podium. Also, being with my team at state and everyone who qualified winning a state medal.
Surprised to learn: People are often surprised when they see me outside of my track uniform because I like to be feminine and be dressed up with everything matching. Also, I have two older brothers who threw discus in high school.
School/grade: Warren JFK, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Ran on the 4x200 relay that won the district and Diocesan meets; the 4x400 relay that placed first in the SVC and county meets, second at regionals and seventh at state; and the 4x800 relay that finished first in the SVC meet, second at regionals and sixth at state. It also broke the school record by more than 25 seconds with a time of 9:44 at state. Her girls team won the county and district meets. She was named first team All-SVC and also received the Scholar-Athlete award.
Positive influence: My mom. She's been behind me 100 percent in everything I do, and inspires me to do my best.
Best memory: Placing sixth at state in the 4x800 relay and seventh at state in the 4x400 relay. We were the first girls to place in a running event at state in school history, so that was really cool.
Surprised to learn: My sophomore year was the first year I ever ran track.
School/grade: Warren JFK, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: State champion in 300 hurdles; state semifinalist in 100 hurdles; placed seventh in 4x400 relay at state meet; holds district and county record in 300 hurdles; MVP of Poland Invitational and Mineral Ridge Invitational.
Positive influence: My dad! My mom! My mom is always there to help calm my nerves before a big meet. She was my baseball coach and my loving supporter. My dad is alongside me at every meet. He makes sure I'm eating right and is just as excited, if not more, than I am before a race. Together, I appreciate their love and support. No one can compare!
Best memory: Looking up at the awards podium at the state meet at all my friends and family. It just doesn't get any better than when you achieve a goal you set at a young age. I am sooo thankful that I have the support I do. The happiness on all the faces as I looked out was a very joyous time in my life.
Surprised to learn: I enjoy listening to classic jazz music from the '40s to the '70s (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson).
School/grade: Boardman, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Four-year state qualifier in the 4x800 relay; three-year state qualifier in the 1600; career-best time in mile is 5:09; career best 800-meter split is 2:15; ran in the Midwest Meet of Champions.
Positive influence: My coach, Mrs. Denise Gorski. She is as positive as you can get. She motivates and encourages every athlete she works with. I will never forget how she set aside her own personal time to help me strengthen my leg after my injury. Not only did she help me physically recover, she helped me mentally recover. I will truly miss having her as my coach.
Best memory: Qualifying for state in the 1600. I wanted to make it so bad because it was my last opportunity to run individually at state. The race came down to the last 100 meters where all of my family and friends helped me surge past the fourth-place girl to claim that spot. I will never forget that race and the feeling I got when I crossed the line. It was unexplainable because I wasn't even sure if I would be running this season due to my knee injury.
School/grade: Beaver Local, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Holds seven school records (100, 100 hurdles, 200, 300 hurdles, high jump, long jump and 4x200 relay); won four events at district meet (100, 100 hurdles, high jump, long jump); state qualifier in three events, finishing fifth in long jump and seventh in 100 hurdles; scored 85 percent of team's points this season; MVP of East Palestine Inv., East Palestine Bulldog Inv. and Columbiana County meet; placed four straight years in high jump at state meet; became just third girl in school history to earn a Div. I scholarship and will compete in the heptathlon for the University of Louisville.
Positive influence: My dad, because he has opened up so many opportunities for me all through my track career and has been there not only as a fan but a coach. Also, Rick Conrad, who is an instructor at Jump Stretch. He has trained me and helped me for many years to become the athlete I am today.
Best memory: Breaking the school high jump record (5-3). It was something I wanted to do since I started high school.
Surprised to learn: As much as I love track, volleyball is my favorite sport.
School/grade: Maplewood, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Division III state champion in high jump; placed fourth in 300 hurdles and sixth in 100 hurdles at state meet; set regional record in high jump (5-7 3/8).
Positive influence: Ted Rupe. He always has a positive attitude about every day and all the challenges that may fill it. He always encourages all the runners at Maplewood no matter what.
Best memory: The ride home from regionals -- Craig Rupe's "short trick" and Andy Morgan's hand check.
School/grade: Liberty, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Placed second in the 300 hurdles at state meet with a personal-best time of 45.2; placed first in event at regional and district meets; member of state-championship relays in 2002 and 2003.
Positive influence: My parents, but mostly my dad. Whenever I was having problems with my hurdle technique, he would encourage me to practice so I would get better, especially toward the end of the season. He was always there to give me constructive criticism whether I did good or bad because he knows I can do better. I also want to thank the Men of Power, Agility, Strength and Speed and Coach Alli.
Best memory: Making it to the state finals in the 300 hurdles and winning the silver medal.
Surprised to learn: I like community service activities and I enjoy volunteering at the Liberty Arms Assisted Living Residence, the Churchill Preschool and the Northside Hospital.
School/grade: Canfield, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Placed seventh in pole vault in Division I at state meet; holds school record (10-4); county and district champion; regional runner-up; earned All-Ohio and Academic All-Ohio honors from the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches.
Positive influence: My cousin and best friend, Allison Brager. Even though she pole vaults nine hours away at Brown University, she is always just a phone call away. She is always there whenever I am frustrated or excited. She always "coaches" me on the phone and calls during my meets to see how I am doing. I am blessed that she is a positive role model for me to aspire to. Also my coach, Joe Hammond. If it wasn't for his efforts, I wouldn't be where I am today. Also, Mike Roussos and Matt Reel have always motivated and supported me. They have always helped me reach for my dreams.
Best memory: There have been so many memories, like team dinners after the meets and trying to take pictures of the Poland girls spraying their runners during the 4x400 relay at the Metro Athletic Conference meet. (Yes, we saw you!) But the best memory was going to state. The stadium was so beautiful and it was such an honor to be competing there and hearing the cheers from all of our fans. I am also blessed that my grandparents were able to see me compete. Emily Wollet and I also enjoyed our "Macedonian" room and decorated van!
Surprised to learn: This summer, one of my Junior Olympic volleyball teams, Mizuno Elite 18 Open, will be playing in Austin, Texas, for nationals. Also, I have been taking dance and gymnastics at Sandy Bee's since I was 3.
School/grade: Chaney, sophomore
Statistics/accomplishments: MVP of Mahoning County meet, Poland Invitational and City Series meet; set 100-meter record (11.9) at City Series meet; district champion in 100 and 200; placed fourth in 100 and third in 200 at state meet.
Positive influence: My grandfather, the late Bill Jones, because of his continuous support and encouraging words.
Best memory: Crossing the finish line at the City meet and hearing that I ran 11.9 to break the school and City Series record.
Surprised to learn: I started off not liking track because I only ran the 400 and 800 because I was not fast enough to be a sprinter.
School/grade: Champion, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Scored 161.41 points for the season and 622.41 in her career. Qualified for state for the third year, finished eighth at state in the long jump, named All-Ohio for the second year and Academic All-Ohio for the third year. Helped set school records this year in the 400 relay, 800 relay and long jump relay.
Positive influence: My mom. She wouldn't let me sit down when she knew I could do more.
Best memory: Qualifying to the state meet on my last jump of regionals.
Surprised to learn: My name is always pronounced wrong, but I don't mind.
School/grade: Ursuline, sophomore
Statistics/accomplishments: Won 800 and 1600 at regional, district, Diocesan and SVC meets; Division III champion in both events at Mahoning County meet; finished 7th in 800, 9th in 1600 and 9th in 4x800 relay at state meet; set school 800 record (2:21.28).
Positive influence: My dad, because he helps me keep my focus and makes sure I remember that, yes, he is my dad, but at school he is my coach and is as hard on me as he is on everyone else. He always encourages our long distance runners to practice hard and give their all in each race. My teammates also influenced me by pushing me at practice and encouraging me to strive to get better and never settle for less than I'm capable of doing.
Best memory: My aunt works with Wilma DePiore, who set the 800 record at Ursuline in 1985. At each meet, my Aunt Kori would bring me words of encouragement from Ms. DePiore, telling me that "I could and would" break the record she set. She was very excited for me when I was able to break her record (2:22) with a time of 2:21.28 at the Navarre regional. It was very exciting.
Surprised to learn: My sister, Amber (2003), and my brother, Melvin (2000), both made it to the state track meet and graduated that day.
School/grade: Boardman, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Anchored state-qualifying 4x800 relay; earned All-Ohio honors in 800 at state; ran career-best time in 800 at regional meet (2:13.72) and career-best time in 400 at Federal League meet (59.0); Academic All-Ohio; district champion in 1600; Federal League champion in 800 and runner-up in 1600.
Positive influence: It was an honor to run with Brittany Durkin this year. She has taught me what it really means to compete. She never complained that she was running with an ACL tear. She worked harder than most people. She was determined to make it to state and she did. I admire her so much. I also love her because she always calmed me down before races. I'll never forget her praying for me before I ran at state.
Best memory: When our entire team came together to beat North Canton Hoover. It was so cool because it wasn't just one person. It was a total team effort. Everyone gave their best effort. For me, I know God gave me the strength to endure that meet.
School/grade: Warren JFK, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Member of seventh-place 4x400 relay at state meet; member of sixth-place 4x800 relay at state meet; regional qualifier in 400.
Positive influence: My dad and Angelene Cicero. My dad because he's always been there for me and has always stayed postive about everything. Angelene is the same way, emphasizing mind over matter. They've both inspired me.
Best memory: Running at the state meet and coming in the place that we came in. Our seconds dropped a lot. It was exciting.
Surprised to learn: My dad is a body builder, so I'm probably going to follow in his path and eventually compete in some fitness competitions.
School/grade: Brookfield, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: All-Ohioan in 300 hurdles at state meet; first-team All-Trumbull Athletic Conference; set school records in 300 hurdles (45.49) and 100 hurdles (15.5); U.S. Army National Scholar-Athlete award-winner.
Positive influence: My parents. Ever since I was a "little tyke," they have supported me at every event and have encouraged me to do my best no matter what.
Best memory: Crossing the finish line during the state semifinals knowing I had qualified for the state finals. It was a goal I've had since middle school.
Surprised to learn: I have 25 first cousins, 17 of which are from one side of the family.
School/grade: Western Reserve, freshman
Statistics/accomplishments: OHSAA All-Ohio honors, fifth place at the Div. III state meet in shot put (personal-record 39-3), second place at regional meet in shot put (37-9 1/2), third place at district meet in shot put (37-6), first place at ICL meet in shot put (37-7), second place at Mahoning County meet in shot put (36-9) and second place at Mahoning County meet in discus (103-2).
Positive influence: There are a bunch of family members, coaches and friends that have been positive role models in my athletic career. Nick Panezich, of Springfield Local, has not only been a very good friend, but quite an inspiration in my throwing career. When I watch how hard he works at practice and how well he throws in competition, it makes me want to do better. When we're at meets together, I always seem to do my best. I cheer for him and he cheers for me. It's a great friendship.
Best memory: Qualifying as the only freshman in the girls shot put at state was a major accomplishment, but I really wanted to get up on the podium and, if nothing else, throw over 38 feet for a personal best. So, after fouling my first two throws and having only one throw left to qualify for the finals, I knew I had to regain my composure to get a qualifying throw. I went off to the side to calm myself down and said a prayer to God to let me do my best. I then went into the ring with all of the confidence I needed and threw my hardest. Hearing the official say "39 feet, 3 inches" just gave me the best feeling in the world. That throw placed me fifth at state.
Surprised to learn: I would like to follow in the footsteps of my friends and former summer track throwing teammates Christen Clemson (Penn State), George Fetchko (University of Buffalo) and Michelle Rossio (Michigan State), and throw the shot put, hammer and maybe the discus collegiately at Coastal Carolina University. I would really like to play basketball there, too.
School/grade: West Branch, junior
Statistics/accomplishments: Placed first in 800 at league, county and district meets. Placed fifth at state in the event and also holds school record (2:18.28). Member of fifth-place 4x400 relay team at state meet. Broke school record for most state medals (five so far). Competed in national Olympic-style track meet in Hawaii over Christmas break.
Positive influence: My parents and coach have always been extremely supportive. They also have pushed me mentally and physically to achieve my goals, always reminding me that no goal is too high.
Best memory: Getting back to state for the third time, because the whole trip is always so memorable. Also, running an individual event at state for the first time.
Surprised to learn: I was part of the state championship basketball team. Woo-hoo!
School/grade: Canfield, senior
Statistics/accomplishments: Placed fourth at state meet in 400 and third at regional meet; won 400 at East Palestine Inv., Poland Inv., MAC meet; also won 200 and 4x400 relay at MAC meet, earning running MVP honors; regional qualifier in 100, 200, 400 and 4x400; holds school records in 4x200, 200 and 400; named Mahoning County's top senior girls track performer.
Positive influence: I owe most, if not all, I have accomplished to my coach, Mary Domitrovich. She started my freshman year and has since turned the program around. With her guidance and support, I was able to achieve goals I once thought were impossible. (Thanks "D.") My family, my teammates (Versh, Tif, Nat, Damon, etc.) and my coaches (D, Dunnaway, Special K, etc.) have all made this the best year ever. With God, all things are possible!
Best memory: I'd have to say state overall was an amazing experience. Being able to stand on the podium is well worth all the hard work you put into it. I also had the opportunity to run at the Midwest Meet of Champions earlier this month, meeting athletes from all around Ohio. Coming together as a team to compete was unforgettable. I will also never forget my team's scavenger hunt, team dinners, being dragged (literally) out of the blocks! Records are made to be broken, friendships are made to last! Thanks for the memories and get the MAC back next year!
Surprised to learn: I will be attending Youngstown State University on a track scholarship while pursuing a degree in physical therapy/exercise science.
School/year: Warren JFK, fourth
Statistics/accomplishments: Trumbull County champions (first time in JFK history), district champions (third straight year), qualified seven girls to the state meet (two relays, two individuals), first girls ever to score in running events in JFK history (sixth in 4x800, seventh in 4x400; Angelene Cicero first in 300 hurdles).
Positive influence: Tony Buttar, who started the JFK tradition. He taught me a lot about what track is about and how to get the most out of kids.
Best memory: County championship. Both the boys and girls have been so close in past years, it was great to finally get that one.
Surprised to learn: A lot of my personal off-season training focus is getting ready for the track season, so I don't lose to the kids.
Note: Chelsey Morganstern did not submit a photo and Cierra Bennett did not return a questionnaire.