Portage HS Notebook: Lauren Jones, Abby Moore, Hope Murphy qualify for national meet
Two Portage County track and field greats united in Norman this season when Rootstown alum Abby Moore transferred to Oklahoma , where Garfield alum Lauren Jones had already become a star in the hammer throw .
Now, the two will make the trip to Eugene together for the NCAA Track & Field Championships.
Needing a top-12 finish to qualify for the national meet, Jones took sixth in the West Regional hammer Thursday with a mark of 66.86 meters (219-4 feet).
Later Thursday, Moore added her own sixth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 17.13 meters (56-2.50 feet).
Hope Murphy takes third at Division III Track & Field Championships
Mogadore alum Hope Murphy capped her second straight NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships appearance with a third-place finish in the 1500-meter run (4:28.79).
Now running for Baldwin Wallace University, Murphy qualified with a time of 4:26.27 in the 1500, then turned in a 4:31.55 in Thursday's preliminary run to qualify for Saturday's finals.
Her third-place finish means Murphy is an All-American for the first time.
Future is bright for Portage County softball
The Portage County softball season officially came to an end with Field's 12-4 loss to Hoban in a Division II Macedonia Regional semifinal , but the score was misleading. The two teams played a back-and-forth contest until the Knights erupted for five runs in the top of the seventh. The Falcons certainly demonstrated they could go head-to-head with one of the hottest lineups in the area after they similarly impressed in comeback district victories over Hubbard ( rallying from a pair of three-run deficits ) and Marlington.
While the Falcons will graduate essentially their entire outfield, they return a ton of talent, from their three freshmen pitchers to leading slugger Megan Schmidt (who slugged 10 homers) to a treasure trove of other freshmen and sophomores.
Indeed, all three Portage County softball teams that advanced to the district stage in 2022 are set to contend for years on end.
Rootstown, which finished as the Division III Leavittsburg District runner-up, has a lineup made up largely of sophomores, including ace Shelbie Krieger and centerfielder Abby White. Mogadore, which lost a heartbreaker to Loudonville in a Division IV Akron District semifinal, similarly has a roster full of sophomores, including its own 10th-grade ace in Katie Gardner and sharp-hitting sophomore catcher Olivia Kidd.
Meanwhile, while Aurora graduates ace Mackenzie Krafcik, sophomore McKennah Metzger is a more than capable hurler and slugger while freshman Sophie Retton actually led the team with a .522 average, 12 doubles and 31 RBIs.
Portage Trail Conference baseball shines in postseason
The Portage County baseball season technically ended Wednesday when Rootstown fell in the Division III Struthers District championship game to Ursuline, a day after Mogadore lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to Hillsdale in a Division IV Medina District semifinal.
Still, Thursday featured another relevant contest as fellow Portage Trail Conference members Lake Center Christian and Warren John F. Kennedy met in the Division IV Struthers District championship game. The two squads, which split their regular-season series, staged another superb game with the Eagles walking it off in the bottom of the seventh on a game-winning hit by Michael Mauro.
The game ensured JFK is the last PTC team standing in the postseason but also emphasized the strength of the league. Consider that four of six PTC baseball teams won sectional titles with three advancing to district championship games and the fourth, the Wildcats, falling by a single run to top-seeded Hillsdale (which went on to capture a district championship).
Seventh Annual Bailey Simons Memorial Alumni Basketball Tournament approaches
The 7th Annual Bailey Simons Memorial Alumni Basketball Tournament is slated for June 18 with Crestwood looking to defend its title. Participants include Crestwood, Garfield, Mogadore, Ravenna, host Rootstown, Southeast and Waterloo.
Defending champion Crestwood will play the winner of Mogadore and Waterloo, which will play at 4 p.m. at Rootstown Middle School. On the other side of the bracket, Rootstown White will face Southeast at 3 p.m. at Rootstown High School while Rootstown Blue faces Garfield an hour later with the winners slated to play each other.
The tournament is played every year in honor of Simons, a Rootstown cheerleader who tragically died in a 2015 car crash when she was just 17 years old.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Portage HS Notebook: Lauren Jones, Abby Moore, Hope Murphy qualify for national meet