By SETH STASKEY
Times Leader Sports Editor
Track and field during the first weekend in April boils down to the cliche: it is what it is.
ST. C’S Jaylon Brown hands off to Allen Derosa during the 4x100 relay at Saturday’s Bellaire Early Bird at Nelson Field. The Red Devils prevailed in the event and won the team title.
Martins Ferry’s Anthony Phillips runs in the 300M intermediate hurdles during Saturday’s meet.
Teams are still trying to figure what lineup best suits them and the athletes spend more time searching for their sweat pants and rain gear than they do on the oval.
However, the meets must go on.
Despite blustery, damp conditions at Nelson Field, the annual Bellaire Early Bird Invitational was contested and St. Clairsville's Red Devils flexed their muscle early and often en route to a sweep of the team titles.
Coach Ben Frye's boys scored 164 points and the girls finished with 141 to out-distance themselves from Martins Ferry in both races.
The Red Devils' boys did it with depth primarily seeing that they won only six of the 18 events.
Freshman Jaylon Brown has had an impressive week during his first season of varsity track. He won the 100 and 200 meter dashes in 11.1 and 23.2, respectively.
Junior Cole Antolak won the 800 meter run in a time of 2:08.5.
The Red Devils' three other victories came in the relays.
The foursome of Alex Young, Brown, Allen Derosa and Jerrid Marhefka posted a solid 44.6 clocking for the victory in the 4x100.
The team of Zach Winiesdorffer, Chris Norman, Chase Garan and Michael Ferns posted a 1:38.7 to win the 800 relay.
The Red Devils' solid distance contingent prevailed in the 4x800. The team of Brett Frakowski, Antolak, Drake Walker and Nick Pokas ran a 9:00.8 for the victory.
Runner-up Martins Ferry showed its going to be solid throughout the season thanks to its standout competitors.
Coach Rich Materkoski's team prevailed in seven events.
Leading the way was senior standout Anthony Phillips who swept the hurdling events. Phillips, a returning state qualifier, posted times of 14.9 and 40.9 for the gold medals.
Phillips got a piece of a third first-place finish when he anchored the Riders' strong shuttle team. He was joined by Casey Bain, Richie Padyjasek and Travis Jenkins. The foursome skimmed 40 hurdles in 61 seconds.
Bain captured the 400 meter dash in a time of 53.8.
The Riders also made their presence felt in the field. Sophomore Sean McGee won the shot put with a heave of 46-ft-8. Padyjasek was victorious in the long jump with a mark of 19-ft-10 and Jenkins prevailed in the pole vault on misses with a clearance of 11-feet.
Barnesville's strength in distance events came to the forefront Saturday.
Shamrocks' senior Wesley Lewis used a furious kick on the eighth lap to sprint past St. Clairsville's Andy Thornburg for the victory in the 3200 meter run. Lewis crossed the line in 10:01.5.
Senior Brennan Delaney captured the 1600 meter run, circling Nelson Field four times in 4:44.6.
The Shamrocks' 4x400 team of Tyler Fitzpatrick, Lewis, Brandon Stephens and Delaney posted a 3:39.1 for the victory.
Union Local's only victory in the boys' meet came in the high jump. Junior Kurtis Ogilbee cleared 5-ft-10 for the win.
St. John Central's lone winner on the boys' side was senior Jerry Manukin who won the discus with a twirl of 127-ft-8.
ON THE GIRLS' SIDE, St. Clairsville's depth again proved to be a factor, but not as big as the Lady Red Devils claimed eight championships.
Leading the way for the Lady Devils was junior Amy Castle who swept the 800 and 1600 meter runs. She ran two laps in 2:37.2 and four in 5:37.1.
Senior standout Jamie Perzanowski, the defending state runnerup in the 3200 meters, won her specialty in an area-best time of 11:17.
Senior Jamie Matkovich won the 200 meter dash in a time of 28.4. Sophomore speedster Audra Vrotsos prevailed in the 100 with a time of 13.2.
The Lady Devils' 4x100 team of Vrotsos, Ayla Stewart, Taryne Soukup and Matkovich joined speed forces for a 52.5 and a victory.
Senior field standout Emily Skrabak prevailed in the shot put with a mark of 33-ft-10.
Martins Ferry had a strong meet, winning four relays and an individual title en route to its second-place trophy.
Freshman Sarah Applegarth won the long jump with a mark of 14-ft-3 3/4.
The Ferry 4x200 team, which advanced to the state indoor meet a couple of weekends ago, posted a 1:53.7 for the victory. The team was comprised of Taylr Jenkins, Sunnie Ruble, Kayce Neely and Applegarth.
The foursome of Jenkins, Ruble, Sunshine Wrenn and Applegarth teamed for a 4:36 to win the 4x400.
The 4x800 team included Rikki Allen, Lindsay Cunningham, Brenna Becca and Wrenn. It posted a 11:03 for the Ferry victory.
The Lady Riders also claimed the shuttles in a time of 1:14. The squad included: Courtney Crolley, Allen, Nikki Allen and Shannon Lewis.
Union Local had a pair of victories. Returning all-Ohioan Laura Minnich continued to own the area pole vault pits. She cleared 10-feet for the win.
Sophomore Kayla Doty, who was a state qualifier a season ago, won the 400 in a time of 1:06.
St. John Central's Lacee Dobrovich won the high and low hurdle crowns. She won the highs in 16.9 and the lows in 52.7.
Barnesville's Amy Wahl claimed the high jump and Bellaire's Myleah Green won the discus with a mark of 92-ft-11.