Strong balance enabled the Woodridge boys track and field team to secure the team's second straight regional team championship.

Woodridge defended its 2016 regional championship by winning this year's crown as the top four finishers in each event out of the Austintown Fitch Division II Regional Championships May 25-27, qualified for the state meet.

Head coach Les Carney and the Bulldog staff had eight different athletes advance to the state metet June 2 to 3 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University.

Results from the state meet weren't available as of press time.

"The team traveled to Austintown and won its second consecutive regional championship and the Dogs will have solid representation in Columbus with eight athletes in seven events," said Carney, prior to the meet.

The Bulldogs won the regional crown in a tight team race with 66 points at Falcon Stadium over neighboring rival Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (56), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (51), and Warrensville Heights (48).

Senior Jacob Mally qualified for states in the 110-meter high hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and high jump.

Senior Steven Neveadomi qualified in the pole vault, while senior Max Starvaggi advanced in the 800-meter race, and senior Ryan Palm advanced in the 3,200 meter run.

Palm and Starvaggi will be joined on the 3,200-meter relay by senior Yousef Elkurd and junior Noah Perrin.

Junior Leo Ramsey and sophomore Andy Muha were the alternates in the state meet for the club's 3,200-meter relay, according to Carney.

Mally was impressive in regionals as he dominated the 110 hurdles, winning easily in 14.60 seconds.

In the fast 300 hurdles race at Fitch, Mally was only beaten by West Branch's Rob Lozier, who had a blazing time of 38.86 seconds. Mally crossed in 39.36 ticks in his last event.

With a leap of 6 feet, 4 inches, Mally also captured the regional high jump championship.

"Jacob led the way, scoring 28 points and he qualified in three events to Columbus for the second straight year," commented Carney.

Starvaggi also had a big meet as he won the 800-meter race as expected. His time was 1-minute, 54.88 seconds.

"Max was the Dogs' other individual champion, winning the 800 meters," said the mentor. "Ryan Palm punched his ticket for Columbus, grabbing second in the 3,200 meters."

Palm excelled in the regional as he registered a time of 9:48.18 to place second in the open 3,200-meter race. He finished just behind SVSM's Alex Phillips, who won in 9:47.70.

Neveadomi is another Bulldog senior, who has come on strong late this spring.

In the pole vault competition at Fitch, Neveadomi reached 13 feet to place third overall and reach states.

A runner-up finish was posted by the 3,200-meter relay team of Palm, Perrin, Elkurd, and Starvaggi. Their time was 8:07.66, just behind CVCA at 8:07.45.

Perrin nearly made the cut for states, placing fifth overall with a time of 9:48.44.

"Noah Perrin just missed joining Palm, finishing fifth in the 3,200, just four hundredths of a second out of fourth-place," noted Carney.

"Starvaggi also anchored the 1,600-meter relay team to a seventh-place finish," he added. "Starvaggi was joined on the team by juniors Dijon White, De'Andre Smith, and Zach Conroy, who all finished with outstanding seasons on the regional podium."

The 1,600-meter relay, timed at 3:28.79, scored for Woodridge.

Senior King Alfred Sanders almost scored in the long jump as he had a mark of 19-10.25 feet, which was ninth overall at Fitch.

Woodridge also ran 10th in each of the sprint relays -- the 800-meter relay (1:33.44) and in the 400-meter relay (44.94).

Making up the 800-relay for Woodridge was Sanders, Smith, White, and Starvaggi.

Comprising the Bulldogs' 400-meter relay was Smith, junior Aaron Richardson, White and Sanders.


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