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Madison duo, Lakeside's White preparing for D-I state track and field tournament

May 31—At this weekend's state track and field championships in Dayton, you'll find plenty of athletes that have spent several years working and training for their specific events.

You'll also find Madison's Sienna Sidoti.

The sophomore is scheduled to compete in the Division I high jump event after qualifying during last week's regional meet at Austintown Fitch with a leap of 5-05.00, which was good for third place.

She will be joined in Dayton by sophomore teammate Bryce Brock in the discus and shot put and Lakeside senior Karrye White in the high jump during Division I competition on Saturday at Welcome Stadium.

Sidoti is not a newcomer to athletics. She has always been involved in running as well as soccer and dance. The high jump, however, is a bit new.

In fact, when she takes off on her approach this Saturday morning, it will be just Sidoti's ninth time competing in the event.

When Blue Streaks coach Tedd Wagner convinced her to give it a try, though, having this kind of success was not what Sidoti said she was expecting.

"No I definitely didn't," she said with a laugh. "It was more something that I said 'Oh yeah, I'll do it for fun. It was just something new to try, but I definitely did not expect to come here."'

Sidoti ran the 800-meter event as a freshman, but felt the wear and tear on her body was a bit much. Her father was a high jumper and her mother played basketball.

While she may not have thought she'd be an instant success, Wagner thought differently.

"I think it's the perfect sport for her," he said. "She took to it really quickly. She can work on it by herself, she's very meticulous in practice, she really wants to be a perfectionist.

Sports like running and soccer require a lot of run and physical endurance, high jump requires more technicality, which is something Sidoti said she's really enjoyed working on.

"It's different," she said. "I think that's what I like about it, it's not like any other event. It's not like running .... there's a lot of form, a lot of different things that go into it that you don't even think about."

Sidoti acknowledged that she is "super nervous" for Saturday. But, at the same time, she knows now in uncharted waters that no one expected her to be in.

""That definitely helps," she said. "There's really no pressure. This is my first year doing it and to be where I am is insane. It's a really cool opportunity and I don't take it for granted."

Brock is scheduled to compete in the discus at 10 a.m. and shot is at 2 p.m.

A year ago, Brock was a regional qualifier in both events. The experience from that time showed him exactly what he needed this spring to extend his season one more weekend.

"I promised myself I would make it here," Brock said. "Lifting was a big factor, more practice time, even getting up at 5:45 a.m. for indoor. All that good stuff."

All that "good stuff" paid off during the Fitch Regional last week. He took third place in the discus with a throw of 160-11.00 and a shot put heave of 53.05, good for fourth.

"I feel like I've increased dramatically this season," Brock said. "Hopefully at state, I can come up with a big throw, like 170."

Brock qualified for the indoor track and field meet in the shot put event.

Madison boys coach Jeremy Verdi said the confidence from that achievement served as the perfect compliment to the hard work he had put in all year.

"Once he saw that it could be done at the indoor meet, and knowing that his best event is probably discus, if he could make it one of his events that wasn't quite his best, he really could do something," Verdi said. "For someone who wasn't sure what the path was for his future, and not only finding something he's good at and something he has a passion for, it makes that getting up at 5:45 a.m. very worthwhile."

LIke Sidoti, Brock is making his first trip to the state competition. Brock knows that he will have two years to get back and improve on whatever he does this weekend. But, that does not mean he's planning on exceeding expectations once again.

"I'm a huge competitor," Brock said. "I was born that way. Hopefully, I can get out there and pull off a great throw. In practice, I've been hitting big, I just need to be good under pressure. I'd love to make the podium, I can't wait to compete."

Meanwhile, White will close his Dragons career starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

"This year has been great," he said. "I was blessed with a good team and this amazing extension of my senior season to really finish it off."

This week, White has continued to practice in preparation of state.

"I've been working hard to master my jumps while trying to to balance my time and not over do anything," he said. "I'm so appreciative of my coach [Moses Smith] who has been with me every step of the way and continues to take his time and help me improve and practice as I prepare for this weekend."

White became the first Lakeside state qualifier since Matt Jones advanced in the 300 hurdles in 2007.

He went 6-4 at the Fitch Regional, but has gone 6-6 this season.

Akron Garfield senior Markeise Smith has the best mark at 6-9.

"I can't wait to see what Saturday brings," White said.