Blue Devils send eight to regionals

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Mason Crist

CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS—Led by senior Mason Crist, who placed among the top four in three different events at Friday’s Division III district track meet at Cuyahoga Heights High School, Independence advanced eight athletes to next week’s Massillon Perry Regional.

Crist finished fourth in the pole vault, and second in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

He cleared 11-feet in the pole vault and ran a time of 15.88 seconds in the 110 hurdles and 42.31 in the 300s.

“I’ll never be satisfied with my performances, however, I wasn’t upset with any of them,” Crist said. “This week was all about qualifying. Next week is a big week with a lot of demand. I’ll really have to train hard this week in practice and strap down to run my best races.”

Crist also placed seventh in the high jump (5-6).

Junior Robert Artrip and sophomores Luke Clymer and Emily Skoczen all advanced to regionals in two events.

Artrip was second in the discus (139-10) and the pole vault (13-6). He also finished fifth in the shot (44-5).

“It feels great to keep my season alive; especially with the tough competition to advance in discus,” Artrip said. “It feels good to join the elite group at regionals. I had my big breakthroughs at the right time for districts. I’m happy with my throw but I know I’m still capable of more. Likewise, for pole vault, I managed to get onto bigger poles right when I needed to and it made it possible for me to clear 13-6 and it gave me a chance to get comfortable jumping higher bars for next week.”

Artrip has targeted the 14-foot mark for the pole vault next week to increases his chances of qualifying for the state meet.

Clymer finished third in the discus (138-9) and the shot put (46-6 ½).

“It’s definitely a good feeling to qualify for regionals in both shot and disc since I only qualified in disc last year,” Clymer said. “I will have to have my best performances of the year to place top four at regionals and continue to states, but it will still be great to compete at a higher level this week.”

Skoczen placed fourth in the open 800 with a time of 2:31.69 and also ran a leg in the 4×800-meter relay, which finished third in 10:16.23.

“I knew with my recent times I was sitting fourth in the 800,” Skoczen said. “My plan is always to attack the first lap and get out in front. My time could have been faster but I’m proud of my fourth place finish and advancing to the regional meet next week. Our 4×800 team this year has become really close with each other and it has become my favorite race to run this year. At this point in the season, it all comes down to how hard you worked throughout the year. Our coaches have been preparing us for the regional meet so I think all of our hard work will show.”

Senior Christina Brunsman and freshmen Makenna McGhee and Paige Westerburg also ran in the 4×800.

Brunsman is ready for her final regional competition with an eye on advancing to the state meet the following week.

“I am very relieved we made it out in the 4×8,” she said. “I think it shows great determination from our team to have such a great accomplishment. As a senior, I know how great this accomplishment is and we have to work extra hard to make it to states. I know all four of us will dig deeper and go the extra length to make it.”

Senior Ryan Zygmunt advanced to regionals in the 400-meter dash after finishing second at districts with a time of 52.47 seconds.

“It’s great that I’m able to continue my season,” Zygmunt said. “As a senior, I have been trying to make the most of the limited time I have left and this obviously helps with that. My goals going into next week are to continue setting PRs and see how far that takes me. I’m just going to continue to with the same dedication and work ethic I have had all year.”

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, 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 IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com 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.