It was another memorable year for Suburbanite-area high school sports teams. Multiple state tournament and title game appearances, dramatic wins, league titles and other great moments marked a year in which two schools, Green and Lake Center Christian, joined new leagues. Along the way, dozens of athletes made their mark and wrote their names in the record books. Here's part two of our look back at all that went on over the course of this past season.

JANUARY

n In a history-making season for Coventry boys basketball, senior guard DuVale Patterson dealt with a serious knee injury that sidelined him during football season but couldn’t keep him from a starting role for the basketball team. His defense and energy helped energize the Comets to a near-perfect league season.

n Two Lake senior athletes made their college commitments as wrestler Andrew McNally committed to Eastern Michigan and girls basketball player Brandie Snow signed with Shawnee State. Former Lake athletic director Bruce Brown was honored by the National Federation of State High School Associations with an award for outstanding service to athletics at the local, state and national levels.

n Coventry girls basketball adjusted to new head coach Ryan Stoops, starting 5-4 behind the all-around game of senior guard Karli Morisak, who scored 11 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed six rebounds and added five steals in a win over Rootstown.

n One of the Comets’ PTC rivals, Springfield, also adapted to a new coach as Kevin Pletcher took over as the third head coach in three seasons for the Spartans. 

n Mogadore, starting late after its football team’s state title game run, won its first four games as junior forward Jarad Dunn tallied multiple double-doubles and senior guard Zeddie Pollock was proficient behind the arc.

n Sammi VanScoy returned to the court for Manchester after missing last season with a leg injury, posting a career-high 19 points in a Dec. 5 win over Tuslaw. JoJo France had a career high of his own for Manchester, recording 36 points in a win against Cortland Lakeview.

n Green wrestling began the season with just over a dozen wrestlers, but senior Floyd Rogers’ 11-0 start at 220 pounds showed that the Bulldogs had talent to compete in the Federal League.

n The spirit of teamwork, cohesion and unity was the centerpiece for Springfield boys basketball under first-year head coach Tim Cole. The Spartans implemented team dinners, team activity nights and video game tournaments as a way to connect and build chemistry and while wins were hard to come by, the team grew as the year wore on.

n Manchester senior wrestler Joey Bowen placed second at the J.C. Gorman Invitational at 126 pounds and won matches against Northwestern and Dover to start the new year strong.

n On the lanes, Erin King rolled a high series of 436 to pace Lake in a match against Perry, while Brad Combs had a high series of 450 for the Blue Streak boys in a loss to the Panthers. 

n Green ran into a buzzsaw in its first matchup with Federal League boys basketball power Jackson, dropping a 60-40 decision. Underclassmen Bobby Staudt averaged 14.1 points per game in the early going and senior forward Noah Glass led the way with 12.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest.

n Lake Center Christian began to develop rivalries in its new Portage Trail Conference home, with senior guard Kavon Swoope averaging a team-high 25.0 points per game to top the Tigers in the first month of the season.

FEBRUARY

n Doing what it has done so often in recent memory, Lake boys basketball made a late push for the Federal League title, upsetting Jackson late in the year in a dramatic game to claim a piece of the crown.

n Green swimming and diving found its way in the Federal League, with senior Dominic Polletta earning Swimmer of the Year honors and head coach Mike Lazor earning Coach of the Year recognition. Polletta set multiple personal-best times in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly during the season.

n Lake Center Christian girls basketball won six games, more than doubling its total from the previous season, as leading scorer Chloe Moore took a big step forward after getting up more than 20,000 shots over the previous summer. Senior leaders Auguste Mills and Gianna Skeriotis played just one game due to injury, but the Tigers did their best to overcome their absence.

n Coventry senior guard Conner Wess scored his 1,000th point, becoming the second Comet on the season to do so. Wess scored 17 points in a 75-47 win over Springfield as Coventry clinched its second straight PTC Metro title, the first back-to-back titles in program history.

n Green gymnastics increased its roster size from six last season to 10, then used that depth to build a more competitive roster under second-year head coach Morgan Simpkins. One of the team’s top competitors, Alyssa Steele, suffered an illness that kept her out much of the year, but she was able to find a new role providing advice for her younger teammates.

n Manchester wrestling won the Independence Division III sectional title with 214 points as Zach Larue (106 pounds), Joey Bowen (126 pounds) Trevor Ullman (160 pounds) and Jerek Cropper (220 pounds) each claimed individual sectional championships.

MARCH

n Springfield boys bowling reached the state tournament in Division I, ranking fifth to better their state placing from the previous season.

n Coventry saw its quest for a district championship end as boys basketball power St. Vincent-St. Mary ended the Comets’ season in the Canton Division II district final, concluding a year in which Coventry set a record for wins and reached the 20-win mark. The loss ended the careers of arguably the most successful senior class in program history.

n Two senior soccer players made their college choices as Green’s Haleigh Seman committed to Malone, while Lake’s Alexis Meffert signed with Walsh. Former Coventry star Jesse Gunter earned his third straight NCAA Division III All-America honor, placing fifth at the NCAA championships.

n Lake's boys basketball team reached the district finals for the fourth straight season, falling to top-seeded Warren Harding 48-42.

n In the pool, Green’s Dominic Polletta placed second in the 50 freestyle to reach the podium. Teammate Tyler Kemerer recorded a personal-best and school record score of 404.55 in the diving portion of the meet, capping a weekend in which every Green competitor either set a new personal best or was part of setting a school record.

n Manchester sent five wrestlers to the Division III state tournament, led by second-place finisher Jerek Cropper. Joey Bowen was third in his weight class and as a team, the Panthers were ninth with 45 points.

APRIL

n Former Springfield star Collin Floyd got off to a positive start in her freshman season at Youngstown State, throwing 4 2/3 no-hit innings in a game against Missouri and averaging a strikeout per inning in his first four starts. Another ex-Spartan, Walsh senior Seth Robinson, emerged as one of the leaders of the pitching staff for the Cavaliers and helped the team win three of its first four league games.

n Green softball made its own fresh start in the Federal League, embarking on what would become its second straight 20-win campaign behind talented junior pitcher Addy Moro.

n Coventry tennis returned just four starters and had five players new to the sport on its roster, making for a challenging first month of the season after going 3-12 one year ago.

n Coventry senior track athlete Nick Jones sparked his team to a win at the North Canton Relays as part of the first-place high jump relay, second-place shuttle hurdle relay and sixth-place 3,200 relay. The Coventry softball team got ace pitcher Katelynn Harrison back on the mound after an injury wiped out her junior season and the senior right-hander pitched her team to a winning record. On opening day, Harrison had 13 strikeouts and allowed just three hits in a win over Mogadore.

n Manchester junior Kyle Whyte his .471 for the week as the Panthers defeated St. Thomas Aquinas twice, Canton South once and Triway once to go 4-0 for the week. 

n It was a banner month for Lake senior Jack Lostoski, who signed to play basketball for Baldwin Wallace. The month also began well for Green boys lacrosse, which won two of its first three games, leading in each contest under first-year head coach Richard Keefe.

n Two local players became future teammates as Lake’s Chandler Vaudrin and Coventry’s Conner Wess both signed with Walsh men’s basketball.

n On the track, Manchester’s girls team won early meets against Fairless, Northwest, Springfield, Mogadore and Barberton. State qualifiers Grier Cowles and Alyssa Matheny led the early charge and head coach Steve Schaadt counted on his two standouts throughout the season. Returnees Josh Villers, Jeremiah Harbour and Michael Hercules led the way for the Manchester boys team.

n Dominic Pegley went 4 for 6 with four hits, two RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored for Coventry as the Comets defeated Garfield. Lake Center Christian won its first eight Portage Trail Conference games in its debut season in the league to stay in the County Division race alongside Southeast.

MAY

n Lake Center Christian reached the Medina Division IV district final before losing to end its season, but not before ace James Kontur posted a 8-1 record and minuscule 0.23 ERA. Kontur credited a calm, composed mindset on the mound for his consistency. The Tigers dropped three of their final four league games to lose out on the PTC County title, but still enjoyed a successful season.

n Senior Alex Clevinger signed to run for Otterbein University, capping a strong two-year distance running span for the Blue Streaks in both track and cross country. Classmate Robbie DeLagrange accepted a pistol scholarship to shoot for Ohio State this fall.

n Manchester claimed both the softball and baseball titles in the PAC-7, with the softball team going 11-1 in league play and clinching first and baseball securing the title with a win over Fairless in its penultimate league contest of the season.

n Ohio University freshman outfielder Deanna Cole (Springfield) returned home for the Mid-American Conference softball tournament at Firestone Stadium and helped the Bobcats reach the tournament final before falling to rival Miami.

n Green resident and former Lake and Green coach Rick Tice was named the new women’s basketball coach at Malone University.

n For the third time in four seasons, Coventry and Springfield met in the first round of the Akron Division II sectional baseball tournament, with the host Spartans claming a shutout win to start their tournament journey. That journey ended with a district semifinal loss at Canal Park to St. Vincent-St. Mary by a 2-1 count, but senior starter Tristan Phillips was solid in defeat.

n At their first Federal League track and field championship meet, the Green girls finished second and placed second overall for the season behind senior Alyssa Thomas, who won the 1,600, placed second in the 800 and scored 30 points on the day.

n Lake Center Christian track, despite having fewer than 20 members on its boys and girls rosters combined, tried to make its mark by competing hard and engaging in numerous service projects away from the track, including a day of volunteering at the MAPS museum in Green.

n Springfield seniors Holley heard (softball, Defiance), Nathaniel Stubblefield (wrestling, Tiffin), Tristan Phillips (baseball, Heidelberg) and Justus Baker (football, Mount Union) all finalized their college commitments. Coventry’s boys track team ended a 50-plus-year title drought by splitting the PTC Metro title with Woodbridge, winning the regular season and placing second at the league meet.

n The Comets went on the advance seven athletes to the Division II state meet in Columbus.

JUNE 

n Coventry senior three-sport athlete Jaret Skaggs was named WAKR Male Athlete of the Year at a special event held in Akron. Skaggs was honored largely for his record-setting football season and will use the $1,000 scholarship accompanying the award as he attends Malone this fall. 

n Twelve local athletes reached the state track meet, with Coventry sending seven, Manchester sending two and Lake, Mogadore and Green sending one. The highest placer was Manchester junior Alyssa Matheny, who was third in the high jump in Division II. Thomas was 11th in the 1,600 for Green, while Dusty Burkhart’s 11th-place result was Coventry’s second-best result of the day behind its 800 relay team, which was 10th.

n Matheny’s teammate, Grier Cowles, was 12th in the 400, while Mogadore senior Stephen Stott was 10th in the 400 in Division III. 

n Burkhart added to a successful month and junior season by verbally committing to play football for the University of Akron, giving the Comets a Division I scholarship recruit for the third straight season.

n The state track meet brought the curtain down on another memorable season of local high school sports, ending a school year that began with the August heat and came to a close the following spring. It featured history being made, futures being forged and the next generation of athletic standouts stepping up to take their places.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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