Blue Devils kick off season at Bill Dodd Invitational

Robert Artrip

Independence’s track team finally kicked off the 2018 season on Saturday with a strong performance at the Bill Dodd Invitational in Parma.

Junior Robert Artrip and freshman Makenna McGhee both earned top three finishes to pace the Blue Devils.

Artrip won the pole vault and finished 10th in the shot put and 13th in the discus.

“I’m not completely satisfied with my throws,” Artrip said. “While I didn’t do horrible in the discus, I would’ve liked to start the year off with a (personal record), and while shot put was a new personal best I’ve been throwing further in practice so I know I could have done better.”

Artrip cleared 12-feet, 3-inches in the pole vault. He threw the shot 40-feet, 3-inches and the discus 115-09.

“Starting off with a strong performance is very important to boost my confidence on my poles,” Artrip said. “I’ve had some trouble in practice but performing well and setting a personal record at the beginning of the season is going to keep me pushing for improvement in all of my events.”

McGhee finished third in the two-mile (13:05.25) and also helped the Blue Devils finish fourth in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 11:14.18.

“Overall, I was satisfied considering it was my first high school two-mile race,” she said. “The wind definitely slowed the pace down but I learned a lot. Starting the season with a third place finish and a fourth place in the 4×800 gives me a lot of motivation for the season.”

Senior Christina Brunsman, sophomore Emily Skoczen and freshman Paige Westerburg also ran in the 4×800.

Brunsman, Skoczen, Westerburg and sophomore Josie Lee teamed up to finish fifth in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 4:48.22 and senior Ryan Zygmunt, freshman P.J. Oschmann and senior Mason Crist also scored for the Blue Devils at the meet.

Zygmunt finished fifth in the 400-meter dash (56.03), Oschmann was fifth in the two-mile (11:23.65) and Crist was sixth in the 300-meter hurdles (44.49).

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The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.