Wednesday, September 22

    Stepanik earns state berth


    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.

    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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