June 10, 2023 12:30 am

Employees photo / Greg Macafee. Lowellville’s Vinny Ballone (left) snags the baton from teammate Braylen Dabney for the duration of the 4×400 relay.

CRESTON — The Lowellville boys track group did it once again Friday evening.

A week right after capturing the district title at the Division III Springfield meet, the Rockets outlasted the competitors at the Area 9 meet at Norwayne Higher College to capture the boys group title. Lowellville scored 58 points, 18 ahead of second-spot finisher McDonald and 19 points ahead of third-spot finisher Brookfield.

“We have a excellent group, a excellent coaching employees, and we’ve been functioning difficult toward this purpose all year,” Lowellville coach Bobby Ballone mentioned. “Now we just have to get to states subsequent week and attempt to do the similar form of factor.”

The Rockets scored eight points from sprinting events, 16 from hurdles, six from distance events and 5 from throwing events. Their relay teams also scored a whopping 23 points to pace the day. They came property with a second-spot finish in the 4×200, a fourth-spot finish in the 4×100 and then came in just behind United for a second-spot finish in the 4×400, the meet’s final occasion.

Michael Ballone was vital in the hurdle events for the Rockets, securing a second spot in the 300 hurdles with a 39.78 clocking, which was tenths of a second behind Waynedale’s Jeremy Reber. Then he also earned a close second in the one hundred hurdles behind LaBrae’s David Blackmon with a time of 15.30 seconds.

“We’ve just got a excellent group of difficult-functioning guys,” Bobby Ballone mentioned. “They show up every single day and do the issues they need to have to do in order to be prosperous and attain the issues that we’ve been wanting to do all year.”

At the core of the Lowellville group is a powerful class of seniors that have excelled in a quantity of sports this year, major the Rockets to an undefeated standard season in football and also carrying the basketball group into the district semifinals. Now they’ve performed it in track and field as effectively.

Soon after watching them from a young age, Bobby Ballone mentioned the typical that the seniors have set has only helped the Rockets’ exceptional season.

“We’ve had excellent leadership more than the years and my brother Vinny and all the other guys that I’ve been coaching due to the fact they have been in third grade with pee-wee football,” he mentioned. “They are a excellent group, we’ve been blessed with them and we hope that these younger guys find out from them and continue the results that we’ve had the previous couple of years.”


The Springfield girls had a specific evening, and junior Ava Vecchione led the way.

Vecchione began her evening off by pacing the Tigers to a victory in the 4×200 relay when she ran a crucial third leg to close the gap on the leaders, which permitted anchor operating Graciella Ebert to safe the win.

Then, the similar relay group of Vecchione, Ebert, Emma Sanders and Cali Matey punched its ticket to states in a second relay when they earned a second-spot finish in the 4×100.

“I’m genuinely grateful for this chance I believe we all are,” Ebert mentioned. “We are genuinely proud of how effectively we trusted every single other all through the complete season, and we have gradually progressed every single meet and everybody has been constant with every single other and helped us out as a group.”

Of her significant kick in the 4×200, Vecchione mentioned she just wanted to assistance out her teammates as significantly as she could.

“I just wanted to do it for the group since I know we deserve this,” Vecchione mentioned. “I know our difficult function all through the season is paying off, so it is just a excellent feeling.”

Soon after the second-spot finish, Vecchione went on to continue her specific evening when she won a surprising title in the 300-meter hurdles, edging out Cardinal Mooney’s Sammy Rotunno with a 46.18 finish. Rotunno and Vecchione each beat Waynedale’s Skye Morris, who was the major qualifier.

“It was genuinely type of unexpected, I type of shocked myself,” Vecchione mentioned. “But that is been my purpose for the previous two years due to the fact I began operating them. So just figuring out that I was in a position to do it and it was in me, even if I did badly on a couple of hurdles, it felt excellent.”

Vecchione completed off her evening with a further trip to the podium with a second-spot finish in the 200-meter dash. She clocked a time of 26.06 seconds, coming in behind Dalton’s Brianna Chenevey who recorded a time of 25.46.


The Valley Christian boys 4×100 relay group has dominated the occasion in Division IV for the previous two years and they are seeking to do it once again.

Soon after capturing a regional title with a time of 43.33 seconds, the Eagles look to be on their way.

“This feels excellent, but I believe we anticipate it now since we are so employed to it,” Phillip Spradley mentioned. “I’ve been performing it due to the fact my sophomore year and we just hold going back. So I believe we anticipate it now, we just know what comes with it and stuff like that.”

The relay group of Jhordan Peete, Spradley, VeShun Gurley and Marquez Gibbs, completed .21 seconds ahead of the group from Black River and .62 seconds ahead of the group from Columbiana. Lowellville recorded a time of 44.20 seconds to spot fourth.

The Eagles have been right here prior to even though and despite the fact that their aspirations lie at the meet subsequent weekend in Columbus, getting knowledge at the regional meet constantly assists.

“We set ourselves to a larger typical so that just assists us attain new objectives,” Spradley mentioned.

The Eagles will be seeking for title No. three when they travel to Columbus subsequent weekend and there is lots of motivation to get it performed.

“This is my senior year, this is all 3 of our senior years, so we just want to finish it off with a bang, hopefully, break the record once again,” Spradley mentioned. “That’s what we hope to do.”


Mineral Ridge sophomore Ava Hulett has been to states prior to, and she’s glad to be going back, in particular with a regional title in her pocket.

With a time of 15.92 seconds, Hulett won the one hundred-meter hurdles by .07 seconds, just ahead of Loudonville’s Corri Vermilya.

“I’ve been functioning genuinely difficult for this,” Hulett mentioned. “I produced it to states final year so I had the motivation to make it once again.”

Hulett thrived in chaos on her way to victory as effectively. Through the occasion, various girls began going down about her right after missed hurdles and when it could’ve drawn her consideration, Hulett stayed focused on the activity at hand.

“I was correct subsequent to the girl who went down initially and when I saw her I felt genuinely poor for her since she was correct subsequent to me but I just had to hold pushing since I only had a couple of hurdles left,” Hulett mentioned.


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