By T-L Sports Staff
NEWCOMERSTOWN - The road to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships got under way Tuesday afternoon at Newcomerstown High School's Lee Stadium.
Kicking off action was Division III with the top four boys' qualifiers earning a trip to the regional next week at Fairless High School in Navarre. The girls, meanwhile, are once again broken into two districts with four qualifiers heading to Fairless and four heading to Lancaster Fairfield Union.
The majority of area schools are ticketed for Fairfield Union.
In the regional heading for Fairfield Union, St. John Central had a strong opening day and leads cross-street counterpart, Bellaire for the team lead. The Irish finished the first day with 26 points, while the Big Reds tallied 17.
The Irish girls went gold and silver in the discus competition. Sophomore Lindsey Froehlich marked the discus at 108-ft-7 for the victory, while junior teammate Gabrielle Santinoceto was second at 105-ft-11.
The Irish also posted a second-place finish with sophomore Jessica Alvey posting a mark of 15-ft-11 1/2 in the long jump.
Bellaire's Melissa Cordy is headed back to the regional. She finished third in the pole vault, clearing 8-ft-6. Senior Hunter Eden qualified in the long jump with a mark of 14-ft-2 1/2, which was good enough for fourth place.
On the track, Bellaire's girls 4x8 is headed for the regional.
The Big Reds' foursome has been solid all spring. The quartet of Danielle Stoner, Taylor Stoner, Shaye Beckett and Rylie Purtiman qualified for Fairfield Union in the third spot, posting a 10:22.81.
Bridgeport's Briana Massey, who is seeking her third consecutive trip to the state meet, is headed to the regional in the long jump as a district champion. She marked the sand at 16-ft-9 1/4 to prevail.
Barnesville's Shayla Markovich is headed for the regional in the discus. She twirled the platter to a mark of 100-feet even for the fourth and final qualifying spot.
Also headed for the regional for the Shamrocks is Trista Newsome in the pole vault. She was fourth at 8-feet.
Shadyside's McKayla Kinemond is headed back to the regional, seeking her first state meet trip. She cleared 9-feet and finished second in the pole vault.
Monroe Central's Annie Digity qualified in the long jump by finishing third in 14-ft-10 1/2.
Also advancing in the 3200 meter relay was the River Pilots' team of Gabby Good, Shayna Indermuhle, Kara Dotterer and Makenna Collins. The team ran 11:21.70.
In the district heading to Fairless, the Steubenville Central girls' 4x8 punched its ticket to Fairless thanks to a third-place finish. The team of Molly Marrow, Mikayla Pfouts, Alexis Mastroianni and Lauren Hunt joined forces for a 10:43.33.
East Richland Christian's Rebekah Mitchell will take part in the regional long jump after finishing fourth with a mark of 14-ft-3.
ON THE BOYS' SIDE, River has already punched the ticket of a pair of competitors for the regional.
Junior Brok Cross captured the high jump title by soaring over 6-feet. He'll be joined by classmate Colton Wright, who finished third at 5-ft-8.
Bellaire has already clinched a representative at the regional.
Junior strongman Cody LaRoche finished second in the shot put with a mark of 48-ft-6.
Steubenville Central's solid 4x8 team will join the girls' squad at Fairless High School. The team of Logan Hunt, Isaac Sanford, Mike Crosby and Anthony Lee ran an 8:22.06 to finish second in the race.
The Crusaders' J.P. Dombrowski finished fourth in the high jump at 5-ft-8.
All remaining running events and field events will be contested on Friday, beginning at 4 p.m.
The Division II meet opens on Thursday at Meadowbrook High School in Byesville with the regional slated for Muskingum University in New Concord.