by Brent Hovey
Painesville -- Relays have been a strong point for the Greenmen boys track squad all year, and that was certainly the case in the Division II district meet May 17 and 19.
All four of the local relay units qualified for the regional meet this week in Ravenna. Aurora also qualified athletes in five other events during a fourth-place team effort.
"They're performing extremely well," said coach Mark Dingman. "We're real pleased with what's going on."
AHS scored 73 points to finish behind Walsh Jesuit (92 1/2), University School (87) and Akron Buchtel (85).
The 4x200 relay team set the pace with a first-place finish in 1:30.72. It consisted of Matt Perry, Dave Moore, Andrew Krieger and Joe Cech.
In the race, Aurora edged traditional speed powerhouse Akron Buchtel at the finish line.
"Moore ran an extremely good race, as did the rest of the guys," Dingman said. "All of a sudden we were running neck and neck with Akron Buchtel, which knows something about speed, and Joe took care of its anchor. It was awesome. That was the highlight of the day."
THE 4 X 400 unit of Perry, Youcef Lamouri, Frederick Frantzen and Cech took second in 3:27.22, while the 4x800 team of Chris Dennison, Rick and Chris Buoncore and Tom Heraghty was third in 8:20.
Both the 4x400 and 4x800 set season best times.
"The 4x800 has gone to the regional the last three years," said Dingman. "We were hoping, expecting, to make it out. It's nice to get there again, and hopefully they'll make a trip to Columbus again."
Last year, Aurora's 4x800 team finished fifth in the state.
"The 4x400 guys put Cech in a position to win, but just couldn't hold off Buchtel's anchor. It was still a fantastic race," Dingman said.
Completing the relay qualifiers was the 4x100 team, which finished fourth in 44.99. Its members were Perry, Dee Brizzolara, Krieger and Dylan Ek-strand.
Also qualifying for the regional, which will be contested May 24 and 26, are Cech in the 200 dash, Dennison and Heraghty in the 1,600 run, Dennison in the 3,200 and Frantzen in the 300 hurdles.
Cech was third in 200 in 22.79; Dennison and Heraghty were second and fourth, respectively, in the 1,600 in 4:30 and 4:34; Dennison was third in the 3,200 in 9:35.33; and Frantzen was third in the 300 hurdles in 40.48.
IT WILL BE Heraghty's first trip to the regional in an open event, but it's nothing new for Dennison. He has been to the state meet two times in track and four times in cross country.
"Sometimes, I think we almost take for granted how good of a runner he is," Dingman said about Dennison.
"Frantzen dropped his season-best time by three-tenths of a second. He was upset he didn't run well in the 110 high hurdles and he took it out in the 300.
"It was a fantastic day. To qualify in nine events in a difficult district like Painesville, which I still think is the toughest Division II district in the state, is just fantastic."
Others who earned district points for the Greenmen were:
Krieger, sixth in the 100 dash in 11.53; R. Buoncore, seventh in the 800 in 1:59.84; Jamal Simmons, seventh in the 110 hurdles in 16.8; Frantzen, eighth in the 110 hurdles in 17.07; and Anthony Badalamenti, seventh in the high jump at 5-10 and sixth in the long jump at 19-6.
Field event preliminaries and finals in the regional get under way May 24 at 4 p.m., while running preliminaries start at 4:30. Admission is $6 per person.
Ravenna's Gilchrest Stadium is on North Chestnut Street (Route 44), about 1 mile south of Robinson Memorial Hospital and Route 14.
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115