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Ohio’s team has speed to burn

WILLIAM HARDENBROOK

SALEM — This has been a busy spring for some of the area’s best track and field athletes.

Fresh off state track tournament appearances in early June, a solid core of Columbiana County state track placers are returning to the gridiron to offer their speed for the 42nd Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic slated for June 24 at Patterson Field in East Liverpool.

Those include Southern’s Brad Sloan (2nd in Div. III long jump), Crestview’s William Hardenbrook (4th in Div. III 110-meter hurdles, second as part of Div. III 400 relay), Crestview’s Brandon Yanssens (second as part of Div. III 400 relay), Salem’s Jax Booth (4th in Div. II long jump), Columbiana’s Xathon Cross (4th as part of Div. III 1600 relay) and Beaver Local’s Tanner Johnston (7th as part of Div. II 400 relay).

Hardenbrook, the Morning Journal Defensive Player of the Year, said the track athletes immediately started talking shop upon getting to the first practice on Monday at Salem’s Sebo Stadium.

“There was a lot of bickering back and forth about who would have made it and who was the fastest,” Hardenbrook said. “We talked about how we ended up and if there was as anybody as fast as us coming up in the next classes.”

Hardenbrook himself was an asset to Crestview athletic programs in his career. As a senior for the football team, Hardenbrook averaged 155 all-purpose yards a game and was second on the team in scoring with 82 points. He ran for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns on 83 carries (10.9) and added 24 catches for 438 yards (18.3) and three touchdowns.

A 6-foot-2 inside linebacker with sprinter’s speed on defense, Hardenbrook had 73 tackles with 10 for losses, three sacks, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and a blocked field goal.

Ohio is hoping Hardenbrook’s skills will pay off as the Buckeyes are looking to win for the fourth time in five tries in the series.

“It’s a lot different meeting up with kids from different schools,” Hardenbrook said. “We’re on the same team but there is still going to be a lot of talking back and forth.”

The only teams in the Quad County Coaches Association who Crestview played this year were East Liverpool and South Range.

“We also scrimmaged United,” Hardenbrook said.

This will mark the final time Hardenbrook puts on a football uniform as the Columbiana Career and Technical Center student is pursuing a career in welding. He said he was not interested in playing college football.

“Sometimes it’s a little too much,” Hardenbrook said. “That’s a really big step up.”

Hardenbrook said the highlight of his athletic career at Crestview was his senior football and track seasons. He is humble about it.

“I can’t say I did anything too great,” Hardenbrook said. “I was just glad to be share the experience with everyone else.”

Game notes

¯ Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with introductions starting at 6:30 p.m. Kicksoff is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate. Tickets can be bought from any player or at Radio Shack in Columbiana, Sitler the Printer in Columbiana or the Sport Connection in Salem.

¯ This is only the third time the game will be at Patterson Field. The game was contested there in 1980 and 1990 with Ohio losing both times.

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