Mentor girls take home team crown, area has night to remember on Division I Austintown-Fitch Regional Day 2

·9 min read

May 26—YOUNGSTOWN — The last time the Mentor girls took home a regional team title, Savannah Dennison admits she believed it may wind up as a "once-in-a-lifetime" achievement.

May 26 during Day 2 of the Division I Austintown-Fitch Regional, Dennison was gladly proven wrong.

And really as a whole, The News-Herald coverage area had just about everything go right — arguably historically right — on an evening that will long be recalled fondly around these parts.

The Cardinals, in a tough Fitch field, captured their second regional team crown in program history with 75.5 points, getting wins from Dennison in the 1,600-meter run and from their 4×400 relay.

#NHtrack Mentor's Makenzie Stuckert discusses the Cardinals' team , open 4×4 reel-in for & a rock-solid 56.37 open 4 runner-up at the D1 Fitch Regional

Like she noted, you could tell she badly wanted to will that 4×4 home after the quality work leading into her

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

"I am so pleased," Dennison said. "I knew we had potential coming into the meet. I think our team is so well-rounded this year. And if I'm being completely honest, two years ago, I didn't expect us to come here and do it. I thought it was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Two years ago was the first time Mentor had ever won the region, and we came back and did it today. And damn, did we make it look easy. We killed it today."

#NHtrack Here are my usual NH area video meet highlights, this time from D1 Fitch Regional Day 2

No "Eh ..." lament from me this time — covered a lot of ground here

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

Dennison took pride in many facets of the performance, but one that stood out, rightfully so, was a 2-3 with fellow senior Kylie Beucler in 800. Dennison hit for a time of 2 minutes, 13.96 seconds, and Beucler went 2:14.28. It marks the first time Mentor has had two girls open 8 runners qualify for state in the same season.

"Having Kylie up there, racing with me, I haven't really had that," Dennison said. "And to have her step up this year and be able to do it with me, we both have grown so much. Being able to do it together is beyond impressive."

Her 1,600 win was a nice piece of business, pulling away on her third lap en route to a 4:59.22.

"I knew I had the 800 coming back, and I wanted to make it out in both," Dennison said. "My goal for the mile was to win by whatever means. Breaking 5 was definitely not in the plan. It was strictly for the win."

Mentor's reign is merely the start of what was an amazing night locally at Fitch.

Like gladiators stepping into the arena, Nick Biega, Connor Boland and Karl Dietz turned in transcendent performances en route to Columbus while battling one another.

Biega, the dynamic Mayfield senior, doubled in 100 (10.69) and 200 (21.80) and gutted through a 4×2 anchor reel-in for the ages as the Wildcats booked their first state berth in the event in school history and fourth in any boys relay.

"So before the meet, the outside of my right hamstring kind of started tweaking. I was like, 'What's going on?'" Biega said. "It was very minor, but I've got to do it. I had a good start in the 1, and I just had to finish, so I tried to do that in every race. I'm not pleased with my times obviously, but I'm very humbled and pleased with the three wins today and getting my 4×2 boys down to state. Because they haven't been to state ever.

"So I was really happy with that and just happy for those guys. So it was definitely a good day for sure. I'm bringing a lot more to state."

#NHtrack Mayfield's Luis De La Rosa discusses the Wildcats' 4×2 title with a 1:27.58 at D1 Fitch Regional

1st boys 4×2 state berth in school history & 4th in any boys relay

Happy for that young man to get a shot at state as a senior, & that relay is rolling right now

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

Boland, dynamic in his own right and a Geneva senior, may have logged one of the most commendable triples turned in this time of year. He took second in open 1 (10.80), open 2 (21.99) and open 4 (47.08), in the first two to Biega and the latter to Dietz. The list of News-Herald coverage area student-athletes who have advanced to state in all three events — at Fitch, no less — is short at best.

PHOTOS: Division I Austintown-Fitch Regional track and field Day 2, May 26, 2023

He took great pride in the accomplishment and the baselines as he shifts his attention down Interstate 71.

"It feels really good to be able to come out and run a 1, a 4 and a 2 and still run times that are, I believe, acceptable to me," Boland said. "In each race, there are times you want to achieve and the way you want to run it. To be able to do that without having fatigue, I think, I am pretty proud of that."

Dietz is state-bound for the third straight year, as the Chardon junior outlasted Boland in a open 4 anticipated by the duo and by Ohio throughout this spring. Dietz dug deep last-50 to see out the gold with a 47.08.

"I knew I was in shape. I think it was a matter of executing," Dietz said. "Honestly, I did a pretty good job of that. I am really happy. I'm happy that I brought it in. That was special. I knew I was in pretty good shape. I just didn't know to what extent, you know what I mean? So I think that was a good confidence booster for right now."

#NHtrack Amid my insanity, managed to get a few podium annoucements of NH area D1 Fitch Regional champs, so here's that ...

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

Dietz has no doubt Boland makes him a better runner and vice-versa.

"One-hundred thousand percent," Dietz said. "I've been looking forward to this meet all year. It was an absolute certainty, basically, that I'd see him. So having him here, and us pushing each other — I think we both had some pretty big PRs today. That's what that does. Off the track, we're pretty good buddies. On the track, we fight like you know what."

Kenston's Sadie Poudevigne broke through for regional top honors in long jump. The skilled sophomore jumper, who had a tough Day 1 in high jump unable to clear 4-11 and no-heighting, laudably came all the way back for a first at Fitch in long jump with a 17-10 1/4.

Poudevigne stormed out of the gate in prelims with a pair of 17s and rode it to the first state berth for the Bombers in long jump on the girls side since 1987.

"That is pretty special," Poudevigne said. "Actually, I came in here with a PR of 17-6. My first jump was actually 17-9, so ... I don't know. I was a little nervous coming in. I don't know if I was seeded at the very top (Poudevigne was seeded eighth), but I guess I pulled it together with that 17-10 1/4.

"So I was sick yesterday and the day before. I skipped volleyball and got a good night's rest. I came in today, and I really felt a lot more confident with long jump than I did with high jump because I was sick. But today, I felt really fresh, and I was ready."

#NHtrack Brush's Tyrell Cloud discusses state hurdles berths in 110s (14.27) & 3s (38.80) out of D1 Fitch Regional

As noted earlier, 1st Arcs boys hurdler in school history to get to state in both 10s/3s same year

Really enjoyed the way he attacked late in both with closing power

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

#NHtrack Chardon's Rae Kawalec discusses her 3,200 runner-up in 11:06.07 at the D1 Fitch Regional

The way that Lake girl took out that race, Rae did well to focus on herself & not press early

I knew she was locked in after that great 11-flat at Poland — she's on good form

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

#NHtrack Euclid's Lamonte Hamelin discusses his open 1 state berth (3rd amid top-3 all-NH area sweep, 10.91) & the Panthers' 4x1 berth (2nd, 42.29) at D1 Fitch Regional

Last Euclid 4x1 state berth was 08 — that 08 relay had some flat-out dudes on it, so that's good company

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

#NHtrack Brush's James Darby discusses his HJ state berth in 3rd, clearing 6-5, out of the D1 Fitch Regional

1st Arcs boys HJer to state since Ray Mosby (01, 02)

That's good company — I was around for Ray ... he was a tremendous HJ performer back in the day

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

#NHtrack Euclid's Eve Clark discusses her 3rd career state berth in open 2 with a 25.61 out of the D1 Fitch Regional

Like I said earlier, laudable how she worked her way back into state form after an injury layoff

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023

#NHtrack Here are NH area top 8s from D1 & D3 Day 2s tonight

If you guys don't mind, I'm going to update NH area state qualifiers down the road since I have a ton of video to tweet when I get home

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) May 27, 2023