By DON McCORMACK - firstname.lastname@example.org
In Jim Sanchez’s first 14 seasons as boys track coach at Edgewood, his teams earned six Division II district championships, not to mention, won 89 dual meets.
However, if you think — for a second — the Geneva and Ohio State product takes the seventh district crown his Warriors earned Saturday at the Perry district, or the 19-0 season they produced leading up to it, think again.
“It’s truly a dream type of team for us and it’s a dream season,” he said after Edgewood ran away with one of the two district meets being staged at Perry, piling up 120.60 points. The next-best effort was turned in by coach T.J. Furman’s Jefferson Falcons, who finished with 90 points.
The top four individuals and relay teams advanced to the Division II regional Thursday (preliminaries) and Saturday (finals) at Bedford.
“We have so much love between the guys, we really have a track family,” Sanchez said. “Considering we were seeded 12th going into the district (by the coaches of the teams involved), well, to say we weren’t motivated by that would not be true.
“But district championships are pretty hard to come by, so we take nothing... nothing, for granted, I assure you.
“We appreciate every moment we spend together.”
The Warriors didn’t run away with the district being top-heavy. They did it with depth.
In fact, Matt Fitchet’s championship in the shot put was Edgewood’s only first-place finish. The junior threw 49.0.
“This has truly been a dream year for the guys because, really, we have two guys who are strong in a lot of events,” Sanchez said.
Here are the Edgewood qualifiers for the regional:
Shot put — Fitchet, 49.0
3200 — Chris Lemay, sophomore, 10:13.23.
300 hurdles – Connor Lynch, senior, 39.05.
High jump — Kameron Manhard, senior, 6-3.
Discus — Fitchet, 135-01.
3200 — Josh Lemay, sophomore, 10:19.85.
110 hurdles — Joe Pendleton, senior, 15.23.
400 relay — Jacob Cardona, junior, James Lyle, senior, Mike DiDonato, senior, Riis Smith, junior, 45.31.
1600 relay — Pendleton, DiDonato, Lynch, Brandon Kluge, senior, 3:35.84.
Pole vault — Zac Hutchinson, senior, 12-0.
100 — Smith, 11.27.
200 — DiDonato, 52.04.
300 hurdles — Pendleton, 40.64.
Long jump — Manhard, 19-11.5.
Not to mention, Edgewood placed a slew of competitors in the top 8 of pretty much every event to overwhelm the field with its blanket of depth.
And while it gives the Warriors a seventh district championship in Sanchez’s decorated 15 seasons at the helm, it is their first since 2007. Edgewood won the district at Lakeview in 2002, then followed it with five consecutive gold trophies at Pymatuning Valley.
“It’s kind of neat to have seven spread out over three locations,” Sanchez said with a laugh. “To have so many guys contribute in so many events, that is what makes this so special.”
So Saturday was a good day to be a Warrior?
“Nope,” he said. “It was a great day! I’m so proud of the guys and, more importantly, happy for them.
“Nothing was given to them and they’ve worked very, very hard — and done so together — it’s a pleasure to be their coach.”
Furman’s Falcons won five events — four by individuals and one relay — to easily place second in the district.
Sophomore Matt Kantor set a district record in the 1600, posting a time of 4:34.20.
Junior David Chase won the high jump with a leap of 6-4.
Senior Jacob Hamilton set a district record in winning the pole vault with a best effort of 13-6.
Senior Nathan O’Connor also set a district record in winning the discus for the second straight season with a heave of 142-02.
And Jefferson’s 1600-meter relay of senior Jerry Scott, Kantor, sophomore James Jackson and Chase took top honors with a time of 3:32.43.
Chase finished second in the 400 with an effort of 52.41, while O’Connor was second in the shot behind Fitchet, throwing 46-0.
The Falcons’ 3200 relay of sophomore Lucas Hitchcock, senior Andy Picard, sophomore Brandon Scribben and Kantor took fourth in 8:45.83.
In the other district at Perry, the homestanding Pirates places fourth with 60 points, behind district champion Orange (85), Lake Catholic (83.50) and Harvey (70).
Zak Hurd won the 100 (11.46), the long jump (22-4), was third in the 200 (22.69) and joined teammates Christian Cooper, Kyle Beyer and Brock Hurd in taking third in the 400 relay (45.38).
Grand Valley had a district champion in senior Alex Oscar in the shot put (48-9.5), while he also placed third in the discus (122-2). Teammate Jake Vormelker was third in the high jump (5-8), as was Jason Hart in the 300-meter hurdles (41.72). Mustang Nathan Pilarczyk was fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles (15.59).
Perry went 1-2 in the pole vault with Nicholas Lauria (13-0) and Beyer (11-0), while Aaron Gessic was fourth in the 1600 (4:39.15) and the 3200 relay of Devin Pritschau, Chris Jordan, Gessic and Blaine Luszcak was fourth (8:32.67).
Two Ashtabula County competitors advanced to the regional.
Jefferson junior Kaydee DeVivo finished second in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.84 and fourth in the pole vault with a best effort of 9-6.
Conneaut sophomore Angela Cole took third in the discus, with a heave of 105-5.
Perry was led by junior long jumper Dana Crofoot, who won the long jump (16-10), was second in the 100 (13.21), third in the 200 (13.21) and was part of the Pirates’ third-place 400-meter relay team with Morgan Hanno, Rheannon Crittle and Kayla Cool (51.20).
Cool also placed second in the pole vault (10-6) and fourth in the long jump (16-6), while Marissa Sell was fourth in the 1600 (5:42.65) and Seun Sunmonu was third in the shot put (34-10).
It was a tough go of it for the Pymatuning Valley Lakers at Lakeview.
The PV girls finished 11th, while the boys were 13th.
Junior Geena Gabriel punched a ticket to regionals with a third-place effort in the long jump (16-4), while classmate Ryan Harte placed fourth in the pole vault (11-0) on the boys side.