Strong start to districts

SALEM – Jake Zinni’s successful season in the discus throw just got even better.

The West Branch junior outthrew the competition Thursday as he won the discus at the the Division II district meet at Reilly Stadium.

“It’s great to be able to have picked up the win,” Zinni said. “Next week is going to be very tough, and it’s going to get tougher especially if I want to advance on to Columbus.”

Zinni knocked out the competition with his throw of 156-feet-1, off of his personal best of 167-2 as he recovers from an arm injury.

“I had a little bump in the road with an injury but I’m starting to come back from that,” Zinni said. “Obviously today wasn’t what I wanted to hit, but it’s another week where I can get better and another week to hit where I want to hit.”

Zinni will attempt a second district championship Saturday in the shot put competition, but he knows he has tough competition ahead of him in that throw.

“This season has been difficult as it has come down to inches amongst each other,” Zinni said. “Winners have had 52-6, second place has had 51-11. Us top four guys have been capable of hitting 50 and over, so you just have to be on top of your game.”

The top four in each event advance to the Austintown Fitch regional next week.

Zinni, however, wasn’t alone locally in the discus competition as Salem senior Elijah Bricker also punched his ticket to the regionals after placing fourth (145-6), but is hoping for a bigger picture in the state tournament.

“I’m super excited,” Bricker said. “I’m just hoping that I can be able to get a better throw next week so that I can make it to state.”

Like Zinni, Bricker acknowledged that he was happy to advance to the next round, but knew his performance could have been better.

“I could have throw better today,” Bricker said. “Even so, I still hit my target distance today, so I’m pleased.”

Bricker will also participate along with Zinni in Saturday’s shot put competition, but Bricker is betting on better odds in the discus.

“I am not as good at shot as I am at discus, but anything can happen,” Bricker said.

Bricker will wrap up his field career with Salem over the next week, two if he hits his goal for state championship, and has great confidence in the future of the team in the discus throw.

“I just can’t believe it’s over,” Bricker said. “I know we’ve got some good underclassmen who can throw well so we’ll be fine.”

In addition to Zinni and Bricker, Nick Monteleone of East Palestine has also already extended his season another week.

The Bulldog junior punched his ticket to the regional tournament after he finished second in the long jump (21-4 1/2). Canton South senior Alec Eller set a meet record with a winning jump of 22-0 1/2.

The finals of the district tournament for the remaining events begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Meet notes

– Alec Eller of Canton South set a new meet record in the long jump (25-0.5), previously set last year by Brian Hanshaw of Mogadore Field (21-7.75).

– After four events, West Branch is currently tied with Fairless for fifth place with 14 points. Salem is tied in seventh place with Canton South with 10 points.