J-M's Hamilton, Maplewood team win title

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The following article was posted in the Oct. 19, 2008 edition of the Tribune Chronicle by John Vargo (jvargo@tribtoday.com)

BAZETTA - Samantha Hamilton and Maplewood's girls cross country teams have had their focus on their competition.

Hamilton, of Jackson-Milton, has been bested by Lowellville's Monica Ciarniello many times.

Saturday, Hamilton held off Ciarniello to win the Division III girls district title at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

"We just ran a good race," Hamilton said. "I had a little bit of a different plan at the start. Things didn't turn out how I expected them to go, but it's great. I was getting a little worried at the end."

Hamilton ran 19 minutes, 8.63 seconds, while Ciarniello came in with a time of 19:17.72.

The top six teams and top 24 runners advance to next Saturday's regional at GlenOak High School near Canton.

Maplewood beat Berkshire for the team title, 50-76. McDonald (92 points), Jackson-Milton (173), Rootstown (193) and South Range (199) round up the top six teams.

"Our team has been working really hard at it," said Maplewood's Lissa Yoder, who was fourth (20:45.87). "We knew Berkshire was going to be in there. They're kind of like allies to us. We just work with them. hopefully next week, it will help us out a lot."

After finishing second many times, including last season, Hamilton wanted to help herself to Saturday's district title. However, her strategy was altered from her pre-race plans.

"I was getting a little worried. I kind of went out a little earlier than I expected," Hamilton said. "Then, I got out there and I was by myself. I said, 'OK, I can push through this. I'm a senior.' I wanted this so bad.

"Last year, I finished second to (John F. Kennedy graduate and Kent State University runner) Audrey Maheu. I was calm all week. I wanted to stay focused. I had a lot of butterflies this morning. I'm really happy. I wanted to break that 19 (minute) barrier, but it was close."

Ashtabula SS. John & Paul's Brittany DiMare, Badger's Sarah Bonar and Brianna Propst, Kennedy's Meghanne Perisa and Kaitlyn Rodomsky, Mineral Ridge's Amber Cross, Pymatuning Valley's Samantha Turner, Wickliffe's Lauren Reidthaler and East Palestine's Leighann Kelvington all advanced as individuals.

As a team, Maplewood has excelled by running as a pack. They will take that mentality to GlenOak.

"We're going to go out and run our hardest," Yoder said. "We know who to be with, so we're just going to work with them and hopefully the best comes out of it."

Both Maplewood and Hamilton said they have confidence heading into next Saturday's regional.

"Truth be told, I want to win regionals," Hamilton said. "I'm a senior. I know I have the potential to do so. I'm confident I can. We'll see how it goes next week. I'm coming in with a lot of confidence."

DIVISION II: Salem's Lauren Shivers finished first (19:31) in the Division II girls race. However, Crestwood edged the Quakers for the team title, 45-49.

Poland (81 points) and Chagrin Falls (87) also qualified for the GlenOak regional.

The top four teams and top 16 runners advanced to the regional.

Cardinal Mooney's Christina Oles and West Branch's Andrea Wingett went on as individuals.

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