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AUSTINTOWN TWP. -- Salem senior Helene Shontz and freshman teammate Abbie Antram, and Southeast sophomore Niaja Brokaw all placed and scored points for their team in field events at the Division II girls' regional track and field meet.
Shontz, Antram and Brokaw, however, fell short of making the top four and extending their seasons to the state meet during competition Thursday evening at Falcon Stadium.
Shontz and Antram, competing in the shot put, both finished in the top seven. Shontz narrowly missed earning a state berth with a fourth-place finish, recording a top throw of 38-9 °. Lutheran West senior Sarah Ragland edged Shontz for the final state berth, recording a 38-10 °. Antram placed seventh with a 37-7 °.
"We've been fortunate to have some great throwers during my time as a coach at Salem and these two girls fit into that category," throws coach Bill Neopolitan said. "They are committed to throwing, they compete, they work hard and they are coachable."
Marlington junior Morgan Stocker, who also competed in the shot put, finished ninth with a top throw of 35-°.
Brokaw, the Salem district champion in the high jump, finished eight in the regional meet, posting a top mark of 5-0.
"I finished ninth last year, so I did better finishing eighth this year, but I wanted to do better," Brokaw smiled. "I think the difference between (districts) and this meet was nervousness. I was more nervous in this meet."
Brokaw, who approached the bar from the left side, intends on improving one part of her technique.
"I kind of job on my approach," she confided. "I learned from watching the other girls I need to have more speed."
In the 4x800 relay, Marlington and Salem both finished in the lower half. Competing against an elite field headed by the four schools which earned state berths last year, headed by eventual state champion Chagrin Falls, the Dukes finished 13th and the Quakers in 15th place.
Freshman Aubyn Boyce, sophomore Lauren Landon, and juniors Krissy Tarter and Alyssa Viscounte ran a 10:20.11, shaving nearly nine seconds off their fourth-place district time (10:29).
"They did everything they could to improve," Marlington head coach Molly Middleton commented. "I thought they ran their second laps very well."
Tarter, one of two returners from last year's regional qualifier and the third leg in this year's relay, said maintaining mental toughness was important.
"It was important to be competitive against good teams," she added. "I just kept a positive attitude and pushed myself."
Viscounte, the anchor and other returner, added the four runners "worked together" and stated Boyce and Landon stepped up to fill the roles of two graduated seniors.
"Aubyn has worked hard and brings a positive light to the team, and Lauren has unwavering devotion to helping the team become better," Viscounte added.
Salem, which ran a young team to finish third at district, became even younger in the regional meet. Senior Mary Double was replaced by sophomore Reagan Kornbau. Sophomore Haley Rozeski and juniors Corrine Erskine and Georgia McLachlan teamed up with Kornbau to run a 10:37.79.
"Our goal before the season was to make the regionals and we did that," Erskine said. "We were a real young team out there and we're going to be young again next year."
McLachlan was a newcomer this past season.
"This was my first year running track and it was really exciting being part of a good relay team that made the regional," she added.
While speaking for the Dukes' 4x00 relay team, Middleton could expressed the same sentiment about theQuakers.
"There were some good young runners out there and the future looks bright," she concluded.