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Salem’s girls follow a familiar path

Salem’s Carly Hall and United’s Ellie Marhefka compete in the 1600-meter run on Tuesday at Reid Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Ron Firth)

EAST PALESTINE — Call it a four-peat.

The talent-laden Salem girls’ track team rolled to a fourth straight team championship at the 117th annual Columbiana County Track and Field Championships held at East Palestine’s Reid Stadium Tuesday night.

The Quakers won the meet with 186 points, while Crestview was the runner-up with 104.50 points. Other schools and their places included United (third, 83 points), Beaver Local (fourth, 62), East Liverpool (fifth, 61), Columbiana (sixth, 56), East Palestine (seventh, 32), Heartland Christian (eighth, 9.50), Leetonia and Southern Local (tied for ninth, 9) and Lisbon (11th, 7).

“They did so well, they really did,” praised Salem girls’ track coach Amie Cochran of her team. “It was very impressive. Overall we wanted to try to get two to place in every event. They really did a great job.”

The Quakers upheld their great tradition in the county meet.

“What was really cool today was that I got a lot of phone calls and text messages from athletes who competed years ago for us and it’s really cool to have those come in because they know how much this (winning the county meet) is,” said Cochran. “It’s a big tradition in town.”

Salem recorded a number of highlights on the evening, including setting a new county record in winning the 3200 relay. The team of Ella Double, Halle Cochran, Megan Stafford and Carly Hall clocked a 9:56.49. The old county record of 9:56.70 was also set by Salem back in 1998.

Hall, who also won the 1600 meters (5:20.40) and was on the winning 1600 relay was very pleased with how things transpired for her and her Quaker teammates.

“I’m really proud to be part of this,” said Hall. “And proud to be on our (3200) relay team and proud to be part of Salem (track).”

Hall said she has one favorite event.

“I really enjoy the mile,” she said. “My best in the mile is 5:04.22 and I ran that and I got fifth in the state (two years ago).”

Other county championships recorded by the Quaker girls were Elizabeth Shontz (shot put, 39-0.50), Rylee Hutton (100 meters, 13.03), the 800 relay of Kelly Hutton, Halle Cochran, Raelin Pim and Rylee Hutton (1:49.96), Halle Cochran (400 meters, 1:01.94), Rylee Hutton (200 meters, 26.32), Megan Stafford (3200 meters, 12:02.40) and the 1600 relay of Halle Cochran, Ella Double, Hall and Rylee Hutton (4:10.52).

“I can’t (single anyone out) and I don’t want to,” said Cochran who is all about team. “We just don’t operate that way and I’m so very proud of every one of them and the effort that every one of them put forth.

“We still have some big meets ahead. Our EBC is really tough and really strong and our district is really strong as well,” added the Salem coach.

Salem throwing coach Bill Neapolitan was thrilled with the performance of Shontz who is making the most of her first year of competing in varsity competition.

“Because of COVID (which canceled the 2020 season) this is her first year she’s competed in any varsity meets,” explained Neapolitan. “She’s having a good season and hopefully it keeps moving forward. She’s also 41-plus in the shot which is up there in the state and I think it’s the top throw in our region. She’s done really well.”

Salem freshman Rylee Hutton had a great county meet for the Quakers, winning four events.

“I got two firsts in open events and another two (firsts) in the 800 and 1600 relays,” said Hutton. “That (upholding Salem’s track tradition) is one of the things I look forward to here.”

Hutton said she has a favorite event.

“My favorite has to be the 200 meters because it’s not too short and not too long,” explained Hutton. “I got a PR in the 100 and the 200 today. Everybody did so well.”

Beaver Local’s Kodi Kinsey had an outstanding county meet, winning three championships in the 100 hurdles in 16.62, the 300 hurdles in 50.07 and long jump at 16-1.25). She was named the girls’ Running Event MVP as he scored a meet-best 30 points on the night.

Crestview’s Krista Perry was a champion in the girls’ discus with a throw of 114-0.

Perry was the Field Events MVP with 18 points after finishing first in the discus and second in the shot put.

United standout Ellie Marhefka successfully repeated as Columbiana County champion in the 800 meters in 2:22.51.

Columbiana’s championships were recorded by the 400 relay of Alexia Stoy, Julia App. Tomi Ross and Augusta Clark (51.98) and Morgan Dunlap (high jump, 4-10).

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