SALEM-The East Palestine boys track team may have had a smaller contingent than some other schools at Saturday's Division II district track meet, but the Bulldogs certainly left their mark.
The East Palestine 4000-meter relay team of Josh Pickett, Nick Monteleone, Ryan Henderson and Ronnie Knight took first place with a time of 44.19 seconds at Salem High School.
The top four finishers in each event move on to next week's regional meet at Austintown Fitch's Falcon Stadium.
The Bulldogs' relay team missed out on a regional berth last year by twoe-hundredths at the Springfield Division III district and has been motivated more than anything else by their lone senior Ryan Henderson.
"We were really trying to get first place for Ryan because this is his last district meet," Nick Monteleone said. "This year is about redemption. We really want to get him to state."
The Bulldogs stumbled towards the end of the regular season, getting disqualified in two late meets, but have saved their best of the postseason.
"We've cleaned everything up this weekend," Henderson said. "The end of the year was a wake up call for us. To put it all together today feels great."
The East Palestine boys moved up to Division II this year, making next week's task at regionals all the more daunting.
"It's kind of scary," Henderson said. "All the times are a lot better than they would be in division three. "We just have to keep working to improve."
On the individual front, Monteleone shook off a bothersome hamstring to place third in the 200 dash (23.06) and fourth in the 100 dash (11.33).
Monteleone's preliminary time placed him only seventh in the 100.
"I was trying to make sure I saved myself for the final," Monteleone said. "I've done some physical therapy and my leg is starting to feel better."
Monteleone pulled a hip muscle in last year's district meet, ruining his chances in both the 100 and 200.
"All you can do is hope you get another chance," Monteleone said. "I got one today."
New record for Branch's Robbins
West Branch high jumper Zach Robbins garnered some attention Saturday when he attempted a jump of 6-feet-8. Alas, the junior fell just short of that mark and had to settle of a meet record 6-7 jump, earning him a trip to regionals.
"I usually jump better in colder weather," Robbins said. "Warmer weather like today is not quite as good."
Robbins jumped 6-8 at a meet at Western Reserve earlier this year. He missed a state berth last year by 2 inches. His jump Saturday would have placed him third in last year's Div. II state meet.
"I'm really motivated to get back this year," Robbins said. "It's been driving me all season."
There were other highlights for the Warriors on Saturday.
For the the boys, Jake Zinni (51-10) and Andrew Filp (49-9) finished first and second in the shot put, while Josiah Ross finished second in the 300 hurdles (40.46).
For the West Branch girls, the 1600 relay team of Calista Waters, Erin Carver, Haley Davis and Rachel Carver ran away with first place with a time of 4:05.80.
Also for the warriors, Davis finished second in the 1600 run (5:30.99) and 800 run (2:22.82) while Erin Carver finished second in the 200 dash (27.38) and 400 dash (1:01.26). Rachel Carver finished third in the 300 hurdles (49.48), Karlie Williamson finished fourth in the 100 dash (13.47) and Calista Waters took fourth in the 800 run (2:23.31).