He reached the Division I regional competition last season.

Now Cuyahoga Falls senior 400-meter sprinter Jake Strausser has his eyes on the state meet.

"We're looking for a strong year out of him," Black Tigers third-year head coach Dieter Keller said. "It should be no problem for him to get to regionals again. We would like him to get to the state meet."

Strausser is the lone returning regional qualifier from Falls, which finished 0-7 in the Suburban League National Conference.

Host Falls, which was missing several team members because of spring break, suffered a 79-48 loss to Akron Firestone March 25 at the Laybourne Sports Complex.

The Black Tigers also were scheduled to entertain National Conference rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights March 28, but results were not available at press time.

Against the Falcons, junior Bronson Luksza won the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4 minutes, 47 seconds.

"Bronson should have a really strong season in the 800 and the mile," Keller said.

Also taking first for Falls were junior Jay Wilson in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), sophomore Ryan Freeman in the discus (109-2) and freshman Jack Wilcoxson in the 800 (2:13).

"We are young," Keller said. "I've never had so many freshmen sign up for track. We definitely have some guys who can perform well."

The Black Tigers had some key losses from last spring.

The two key graduates are sprinter Josh Perry, a regional qualifier in the 200, and Donovan Taylor, a regional qualifier in the pole vault.

Also not returning is junior Trevor Garner, a regional qualifier in the 400 who transferred to Woodridge.

Keller also has high hopes for junior Dylon Campbell, who is expected to compete in the 400.

Falls' 400 relay team returns from a year ago. That unit features junior Noah Dunaj and sophomores Scott Smith, KJ Pamer and Jordan Williams, who also is expected to compete in the long jump.

"Noah is developing more into a 400 runner," Keller said. "Jordan is already jumping in the 19s."

Other promising freshmen include Tony Sondles (distance), Brandon Ruffin (sprints and high jump) and Anthony Nichols (distance).

"We're developing a slew of freshmen and sophomores," Keller said.

Keller's assistants are Bob Koch (distance), Elliott Tedquist (sprints), Don Noe (throwing) and Tom Taylor (pole vault).

Keller knows it will be a difficult road in the National Conference. However, he does believe his team can make significant progress in the next couple of months.

"Our goal is to get a couple of wins and roll right into conference," Keller said. "We want to take our best athletes and build them up. We want to get guys out of districts and Jake to Columbus."

Falls was scheduled to compete in the Longstreth Relays April 1 at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson. Results were not available at press time.

The Black Tigers are set to visit National Conference rival Wadsworth April 4 before heading to the Rough Rider Invitational April 7 at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent. Both meets are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

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