Fitch athletes earn indoor track state titles

By Joe Scalzo

Last year she fouled out. This year she broke out.

All it took for Fitch sophomore Gabby Figueroa to go from promising to overpowering was a little confidence and a big meet.

Fresh off an All-America performance at the New Balance indoor nationals in New York City, Figueroa threw herself into the record books Saturday with an Ohio-best performance in the weight throw at the Division I indoor state meet at the University of Akron.

Figueroa’s throw of 55 feet, 5 inches was more than a foot better than her personal best (54-3), more than two feet better than her competition (Cuyahoga Falls junior Erica King, who threw 53-4) and almost two feet better than the previous state meet record (53-7 1/2).

“Well, it’s really shocking,” said Figueroa, who fouled on all three of her throws at last year’s state indoor meet. “At the beginning of the season, me and my coach [T.J. Koniowsky] didn’t expect to go this far.

“It almost seems like it didn’t happen yet. I’m still processing it.”

Fitch senior Jay Jakovina also captured a state title, winning the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 8 inches. Jakovina placed second at last week’s national meet, while Figueroa was fifth in the weight throw in NYC.

Figueroa broke the state record on her third throw (53-11) Saturday, then got her best throw on her final attempt.

“It was really interesting walking into the state meet this year because last year wasn’t really that good,” Figueroa said. “I had more confidence than I was used to.

“I think the feeling would have been different [if she hadn’t competed at the national meet first]. I don’t know if the outcome would have been different but going to nationals definitely helped.”

Fitch junior Billy Price, an Ohio State football recruit, placed second in the weight throw and the Falcons’ 4x200-meter relay placed second to help them place an area-best third in the team standings behind champion Lakewood St. Edward and runner-up Cleveland Heights.

The Fitch boys 4x200 relay team of Tarise Wolfe, Ty’Reese Anderson, Rob Venters and Daniel Rivera finished second in a time of 1:30.14. The 4x400 relay squad of Andrew Dunn, Jay Jakovina, Rivera and Venters was sixth in 3:27.62.

Sam Ortz was sixth in the high jump (6-4) and Dave Anzelmo finished 11th in the weight throw (54-3). In the girls meet, the 4x200 relay team of Theresa Scott, Jenna Yacovone, Amber Brown and Ebony Davis were fifth (1:45.15), the 4x400 relay of Carissa Jenkins, Elizabeth Mosier, Davis and Jayme Ritchie took eighth (4:07.32), Scott was ninth in the 60 meters (7.98), Jenkins finished fifth in the 1600 (5:14.50) and Jasmine Washington finished seventh in the weight throw (44-7).