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Woodridge boys claim Bedford district crown

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: May 28, 2017 12:00 AM

Fueled by a whopping seven titles or runner up finishes, the Woodridge boys track and field squad captured a district championship.

The Bulldogs outscored neighboring rival Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 110-109 for the team crown at the Bedford Division II District Championships May 18 and May 20.

Woodridge also finished ahead of St. Vincent-St. Mary (82) as well as Warrensville Heights (66) at Bearcat Stadium.

In all, the top four finishers in each event qualified for the Austintown Fitch Division I Regional Championships May 25 and May 27. Results from regionals weren't available as of press time.

At Fitch, the top four finishers advanced to the State Championships June 2 and 3 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University.

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"The team traveled to Bedford and defended their 2016 district crown," said Bulldogs coach Les Carney.

"Jacob Mally led the way, winning the high jump and both hurdle races, plus Jacob was also a member of the third-place 1,600-meter relay team, to qualify in four events for the regional."

Mally had a superb meet as did a host of seniors and underclassmen.

One of those standout efforts came from Steven Neveadomi, who had a superb district meet as he won a district championship in the pole vault. The senior cleared 13 feet. That mark was a career-best for Neveadomi.

"Steven captured a district title in the pole vault and his 13-foot vault is a personal best, and the second-best mark in school history," Carney said.

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Senior Max Starvaggi captured an in individual championship in impressive fashion in the 800-meter race.

Starvaggi won with a time of 1 minutes, 56.60 seconds to win the 800, beating Fairview Park's Paul Miles, who crossed in 1:57.08.

In the 3,200-meter race, senior Ryan Palm won a title in a competitive field as he posted a time of 9 minutes, 42.74 seconds.

"In the day's tightest race, Ryan came from behind in the last 10 meters to win," said Carney.

Palm eded SVSM standout Alex Phillips (9:42.82) for the title, while Woodridge junior Noah Perrin ran third. Perrin's time was 9:43.20.

"Noah was less than a second behind as he grabbed third," said the mentor. "Both move onto the regional."

Mally, the Bulldogs' scoring machine, continued his excellence as the senior won three -- the 110-meter high hurdles, the 300 hurdles, and the high jump. He also scored and qualified for regionals in a fourth event -- the 1,600-meter relay.

In the 110 hurdles, Mally won in 14.93 seconds. He won the 300 hurdles race with a blazing time of 39.14 ticks, and won the high jump at 6 feet.

Senior King Alfred Sanders garnered runner-up honors in the long jump. Sanders had a strong leap of 21 feet, 6.25 inches.

That was a new school record for Sanders to the delight of the Bulldog staff.

The 1,600-meter relay placed third with a time of 3;28.87. The crew had junior Dijon White, junior Zach Conroy, Starvaggi and Mally.

Carney also saw his sprint relays -- the 400-meter and 800-meter teams, place fourth and qualify out to regionals, along with the 3,200-meter relay team.

Crossing in 45.28 seconds, the 400-meter relay had junior De'Andre Smith, junior Aaron Richardson, White, and senior King Alcardon Sanders.

Making up the 800 relay was King Alcardon Sanders, Smith, White, and Starvaggi. Their time was 1:34.03.

Starvaggi made it out in four events as he ran in the fourth-place 3,200 relay, which was timed at 8:19.39.

Joining Starvaggi on the 3,200 relay was Palm, junior Leo Ramsey, and veteran senior Yousef Elkurd.

Elkurd just missed making the regional cut in the 1,600-meter race. He ran fifth in 4:34.56.

Freshman Josh Mally also came close as he placed sixth in the pole vault with an effort of 9 feet.

"Josh ended his outstanding freshman season," said Carney.

In the long jump, junior Aaron Richardson placed sixth in Bedford with an effort of 19-10.25 feet.

Senior Jiah Bowers and freshman Micah Blair also scored for the Bulldogs.

Bowers was sixth in the shot put (39-2.5 feet) and had a toss of 114-2 feet in the discus. Blair ran eight in the 1,600 in 4:45.75.

Carney was excited that the way Elkurd (1,600-meter race) and Bowers (throws) ended their careers in the individual events.

Sophomore Andy Muha just missed scoring in the open 800 as he was ninth with a time of 2:08.77.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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