Friday, June 2

    Six North athletes earn regional berths

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    Six North athletes finished among the top four in their respective events at the Division I District track meet on Friday and will compete in this week’s regional meet.

    Ella Zappola, Abby Zappola, and Curtis Thomas each advanced as an individual and Thomas teamed up with Lawrence Lawson, ReonTae Lowery, and Mo Morgan to finish as the district runner-up in the 4×100-meter relay.

    “I’m very excited heading to regionals as only a sophomore because I think it’ll be a great learning experience and I still have two more seasons to grow as a runner,” Ella Zappola said. “On top of that, going with my sister her senior season makes it memorable.”

    Ella Zappola set a new personal record in placing second in the 100-meter hurdles. She finished in 16.70 seconds.

    “I was pretty satisfied with my time,” she said. “I’m happy that I got a new PR of 16.7, but I think I can be faster with a stronger start to my race.”

    She’ll have at least one more crack at a faster time at Austintown Fitch.

    “My strategy for next week at regionals is to have a strong start to the first hurdle and push all the way through to the finish,” she said.

    Abby Zappola punched her ticket to the regional meet by finishing third in the high jump with a top height of 4-feet, 11-inches.

    “I am beyond excited to compete at regionals for the first time on Wednesday,” she said.

    After the finals, Zappola ended up tied with several other girls and was forced into a jump-off to determine who would advance to the regional meet.

    She outjumped the rest to finish third with the second-best score in the field.

    “Going into the jump-off, I knew I had to make every jump count,” she said. “I was so incredibly relieved after making 4-11 and locking in my regional spot. Overall, after jumping this past week, I am satisfied and ready to get a few more inches on Wednesday. My coach and I have been working really hard to work on my form this past week and it is definitely starting to pay off.”

    Zappola is focused and ready for her last opportunity to earn a spot at the state track meet.

    “Next week, my strategy is to take every jump step by step and to not let the height distract my mindset,” she said.

    Thomas set a new PR in finishing second in the 100-meter dash.

    He finished the race in 11.11 seconds.

    “It feels great because I’ve been working really hard to get to this point,” he said. “I’m not satisfied with my time because I’ve been having hamstring issues and haven’t even been able to run in the 100 since my first meet. That was my second time running it for real this year.”

    He’ll have at least two more chances to run the 100 at the regional meet, once in the open 100 and once in the 4×100-meter relay.

    North’s 4×100 team finished as the district runner-up with a time of 43.12 seconds.

    “We’ve been working hard every day at practice,” Thomas said of the 4×1 team. “This has been the goal since the beginning, but we’re not stopping here at all.”

    The Austintown Fitch regional begins with the preliminary races and several field events on Wednesday and concludes on Friday.


    Steve Hare
    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.

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