Northeast Ohio Huddle: Indoor state track championships held at Akron last week


Northeast Ohio Huddle

As Spring has finally officially hit us per the calendar, so has track season. It got started last week with the indoor state championships in Akron and this week moves outside with the star of outdoor season. As usual, Northeast Ohio is well represented on the oval.

As Spring has finally officially hit us per the calendar, so has track season and it got started with a bang at the OATCCC Indoor Track and Field Championships at Akron’s Stile Field House last week.

Cleveland Rhodes’ Mahogany Jones put on a sprinting show for those in attendance, taking the unbelievable triple of winning the 60-meter dash (in a record 7.49), the 200 (24.49) and the 400 (55.52) in the Division I meet. Cleveland Collinwood’s Amber Smith was the only other Northeast Ohio double winner in any division as she took the 60-meter hurdles in 8.74 and the long jump at 18 feet, 6 inches.

Also winning events from the Northeast in the Division I meet were Dailyn Moore of Sandusky (60 hurdles), Hannah Neczypor (North Royalton) in the 1,600, Seth Cunningham of Lakewood St. Ed’s in the 200, Taylor Burke of Medina in the high jump for girls and Dwayne King of Cleveland Heights in the boys’ high jump with an amazing 6 feet, 10 inches. Corey Linsley of Boardman took the shot put and Dustin Brode of Canfield the weight throw. Cleveland Collinwood’s Erin Busbee added a win in the triple jump. In relays, Cleveland Glenville took the boys’ 800 and 3,200 relays and Boardman’s 3,200 relay in girls took the crown.

In the Division II/III meet, Jerica Sanders of Lake Catholic took the girls’ 60-meter hurdles while River View’s Coty Cochran repeated as champ of the 60 hurdles on the boys’ side. Fitzgerald Toussaint of Liberty won the 60 dash while the 1,600 girls race was won by Juliana Libertin of Akron Hoban. The boys’ mile was taken by Cortland Maplewood’s Eric Rupe while Maplewood teammate Jordan Moxley won the girls’ high jump. The 400 dash on the girls’ side went to Warrensville’s Angelique Lykes while Cody Miller of Norwayne ruled on the boys’ side. Give Gilmour Academy girls the 800 (Bekka Simko) and the 200 (Candace Longino) while Ashtabula Edgewood’s Mallory Kreider brought home gold in the 2-mile.

Indian Valley senior Kayla Caldwell, a 2-time state pole vault champion, won the pole vault at 12 feet, 5 inches while Cody Marshall of East Canton took his vault at 14 feet, 4 inches. Finally, in the triple jump, Warrensville’s Noelle Johnson won. In relays, Warrensville Heights cruised to wins in the 3,200 relay and 1,600 relay for girls.


Desmar Jackson, Warren G. Harding, Boys’ Basketball: The 6-foot-5 Jackson was a man in his team’s 53-38 dominance of North Ridgeville in the Division I regional finals at Cleveland State University’s Wohlstein Center. Jackson scored 23 points and generally hit big shot after big shot to propel his team to the state Final Four. He was also named to the state’s Associated Press First Team in the All-Ohio voting on Monday as he averages 17 points per game.

Jackson scored no points in the first half of his team’s regional semifinal win over Lakewood St. Edward’s but made up for it in the second half after his Harding team trailed 24-17 at the intermission. The Wyoming verbal erupted for 24 points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter and seven in the extra session to power his team past the Eagles.


South Euclid Regina Girls’ Basketball: A 27-0 finish for the season after a No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll and it has to go to the Royals this week. Regina routed Oak Hill 63-48 in the Division III state championship game while pounding Findlay Liberty-Benton 59-30 in the semifinals.

In the state title game, Regina shot a scorching 19 of 38 from the field and added 19 of 33 free throws while holding 25-2 Oak Hill to 20 of 54 field goals including 3 of 19 from 3-point range with just six free throw attempts. Amber Boyd tossed in 23 points on 6 of 9 field goals (6 of 8 from 3-point range). Riley McCormick tallied 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting and Therany Dunnigan had nine boards.

In the semifinals, Dunnigan had 17 points but this time, Jackie Cook tallied a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards. Tay’ler Mingo added 12 points as the Royals shot 24 of 44 from the field.


Top Honor: Canton GlenOak senior basketball player C.J. McCollum recently earned the honor as the Gatorade Ohio Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2 senior Lehigh recruit averaged 29.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.2 assists per game in leading his team to an 18-5 record. He finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,405 points. He surpassed the No. 2 ranked player who many people would remember. Kosta Koufos finished with 1,297 points and is now playing for the Utah Jazz after starring for a season at Ohio State University.

Finally!: After state semifinal appearances in 2007 and 2008 only to fall, Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown finally won its first state championship in girls’ basketball, beating Wapakoneta 52-46.

Brown finishes 21-6 and won despite Division II state co-Player of the Year Mylan Woods fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. With the score tied 44-44, Molly Crosby and Alexis Dobbs hit key shots and Erica Almady (15 points) had four free throws in a row to seal the deal.

Lutheran East Knocked Out: Kalida downed Cleveland Lutheran East 57-46 in its Division IV state semifinal game on Thursday morning. Lutheran East closes out the year at 23-6 after it trailed the entire game. The team was down 20-13 after one quarter and 32-20 at the intermission. East rallied to 38-30 entering the final eight minutes but Kalida was too much.

Lutheran East was paced by Ladell Trotty with 18 points on 8 of 11 field goals with eight boards, and William Felder with 10 points.

In East’s 57-47 regional final win over Youngstown Christian,  Felder had 20 points, Robert Martin 7 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks and Bradly Stevenson 15 points.

O-Mazing Olonzo: While his team fell 57-47 to Cleveland Heights Lutheran East in a Division IV regional final, Youngstown Christian’s Olonzo Johnson tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds. As a team, Christian went 1 for 18 from 3-point range.

Third-Quarter Thompson: In his team’s 64-54 loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Hunting Valley University’s Nolan Thompson did all he could to keep his team in the game by scoring all 17 of his points in the third quarter.

As Pat Benetar Would Say …: Canton McKinley’s girls gave hit Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame with their best shot but couldn’t pull off the upset in the Division I state semifinals, losing 62-51. Mt. Notre Dame would go on to become the first team in the state to win four state championships in a row after topping Toledo Start in the finals.

McKinley shot a scorching 19 of 36 from the field but had 25 turnovers to seven for Mt. Notre Dame, who also took 69 field goal attempts and made 26 of them. Ameryst Alston, a McKinley freshman, led the Bulldogs with 16 points and six boards while Justina Owens had nine points.

Bigs Backed Down: While he had six points in the first half as his team led Warren G. Harding a Division I regional final, 6-foot-11 Miami of Ohio recruit Drew McGhee of North Ridgeville was held scoreless in the second half as the Raiders won 53-38. Six-foot-seven teammate Keene Cockburn led the team with 15 points.

Free Throw Funks: Cleveland Central Catholic beat Smithville 59-54 in the Division III regional finals last week but it wasn’t without its struggles from both teams at the foul line. Central Catholic went 12 of 33 while Smithville fired on just 12 of 18 for a combined 24 of 51 from the charity stripe.

Nearly Perfect: Smithville’s boys were 24-0 and undefeated while finishing the season ranked first in the state poll but fell to the Ironmen. Still, the team had a great year under coach Mike Snowbarger. The Smithies were led in the regional finals by 6-foot-8 senior Kenny Kornowski with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Corey Caldwell chipped in 14 points.

Roller Coaster Magic(s): Barberton had as up-and-down of a game as possible in its Division I regional final against Toledo St. John’s. Barberton trailed 20-2 out of the gate but then rallied to trail 30-22 at the half. The Magics eventually led 39-38 late in the third frame but then fell down 41-40 after three completed quarters, only to lose 64-47.

Jacob North led Barberton (24-2) with 18 points as he led all scorers in the game.


Warren G. Harding vs. Columbus Northland, Division I boys’ state basketball semifinal, 5:15 p.m., tonight at Schottenstein Center: The Raiders of Warren are now 23-2 and face 25-1 and top-ranked Northland in the state semifinals. Led by Ohio State University junior recruit Jared Sullinger (6-foot-9, 19 points per game), Northland edged Dublin Scioto 54-53 to reach the semifinals. The only team to beat Northland this year was a Northeast Ohio team in Canton Timken.

Six-foot-seven J.D. Weatherspoon averages 14 points and is committed to Xavier for Northland while 6-foot-5 Javon Cornley is an Indiana University football recruit.

Harding was led by Desmar Jackson’s 23 points in a 53-38 win over North Ridgeville in its regional final but Fred Williams added 16 points and 11 boards and Angel Gonzalez had 11 boards.

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Columbus DeSales, Division II boys’ state basketball semifinal, 2 p.m., tonight at Schottenstein Center: The third-ranked Irish beat Hunting Valley University 64-54 in their regional final as Daylen Harrison had 18 points and nine boards.

DeSales is ranked eighth in the final AP poll and features several key players, including former Ohio State star Clark Kellogg’s son Nick. He averages 17 points per game.

Jeff Arthurs Track Invitational at Claymont High and Steubenville Early Bird Meet, all Saturday morning: Toss in the Doan Ford Invitational at Union Local High and the Northeast of Ohio has started the spring track season off with a bang.

Cleveland Central Catholic vs. Defiance Tinora, Division III state championship, 2 p.m. at Ohio State University Schottenstein Center: Central Catholic easily defeated Piketon 76-52 in the state semifinals as Anton Grady had 19 points and eight rebounds and Chall Campbell added 12 points.

The Crusaders beat Smithville, previously ranked first and undefeated, in the regional finals 59-54. Campbell had 17 points, Derrick Buford 10 and grady 14 points and seven rebounds, five assists.

Tinora edged Dayton Christian 43-38 and the 23-3 team was led by Treg Lymanstall with 13 points. Jon Gerken had 11.

Division I and II state championship games: With Warren G. Harding, anything is possible and if they win tonight, they would close out all action at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. If Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s wins, they would play at 5:15 p.m.

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