Independence senior Madison Stepanik is headed to the state track meet after earning a second-place finish in the shot put on Day 1 of the regional championships at Massillon Perry on Wednesday.
Stepanik threw the shot 36-feet, 6-inches to punch her ticket to next weekend’s state championships.
“Qualifying for state was super exciting,” Stepanik said. “The hard work definitely paid off.”
The qualifying throw was her first attempt of the day.
Stepanik, whose personal record in the event is 37-11, knows she’ll have to step up her game next week to earn a spot on the podium.
“I wasn’t very satisfied, but I’m glad the throw got me to where I needed to go,” she said. “I definitely need to work on my form when I practice this week.”
She also will compete in the regional discus throw on Friday with the hopes of earning a second state qualification.
“The pressure is still on,” she said. “I know I need a PR to quality for the state meet.”
Independence qualified several other events into Friday’s finals.
Individually, Skylar Leichliter will run in the 100-meter hurdles finals after placing sixth in the preliminary heats with a time of 17.04. Emmett Stralka (6th, 100m, 11.31 and 3rd, 200m, 22.67) and Kyle Zygmunt (3rd, 400, 51.19) also advanced to Friday’s finals.
The Blue Devils also advanced two relay teams to the finals.
Jack Taliaferro, Josh Belitz, Zygmunt, and Stralka placed fourth in the 4×200-meter relay with a time of 1:33.60 and Alex Adams, Casey Adams, Ava Moreal, and Leichliter ran a time of 52.43 to qualify for the finals in the 4×100-meter relay.