When it comes to the Suburban League National Conference, 11th-year head coach Dan Scourfield knows full well how difficult it was last season.

"I don't even think we we're involved in the Suburban League," Scourfield said jokingly.

Unfortunately, he's not exaggerating.

Falls took its lumps in the first year of the very competitive conference and finished 0-7 in 2016.

The Lady Black Tigers continued to take their lumps in their 2017 National Conference debut. Host Falls lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights March 28 at the Laybourne Sports Complex.

The Lady Black Tigers also suffered a 72-50 setback to Akron Firestone in their season opener March 25 at home.

"We're young," Scourfield said. "We have 59 girls and a majority of them are freshmen and sophomores. I'm really encouraged by the freshman class."

Against the Black Tigers, junior Madi Davis won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet. Teammate Kristica Barnett, a sophomore, took second in 4-8.

Davis also plans to compete in the 400- and 800-meter races.

"Madi's first two meets have been off the charts," Scourfield said. "Kristica has had two really good meets as well."

Junior sprinter Jackie Shields won the pole vault (8 feet). Shields is a returning regional qualifier from the 800 relay team.

Junior Kayla Huffman, a state qualifier for the cross country team during the fall, won the 1,600 race with a time of 5 minutes, 54 seconds.

Senior Emily Zimmerman added a winning time of 2:33 in the 800 and joined Kayla Huffman and freshmen Chelsea Huffman and Zoe King on the winning 3,200 relay (10:45).

Senior Rachel LaFlame took second in the shot put with a throw of 31-5 and second in the discus with a toss of 77-9.

Junior De'Vine Shelton finished second (52.7) in the 300 hurdles.

Shelton was a regional qualifier in the 400 last season. She also is expected to be part of some relays.

Capturing third for Falls was junior Katie Rozsa in the shot put (28-4).

"Katie hurdled for us the first two years," Scourfield said. "We're looking for her to do big things in the throws."

LaFlame took first (88-6) in the discus and second (31-7.75) in the shot put against the Lady Falcons.

Junior Emma Hammonds added a win (13-3) in the long jump and junior Sarah Wyatt triumphed in the 100 hurdles with a clocking of 18.1.

Hammonds also is expected to compete in the pole vault and in the sprinting events.

Sophomore Valerie Deighton finished second with a time of 6:23 in the 1,600.

"Valerie ran a 6:06 and took fourth against Brecksville," Scourfield said. "She has really made herself into a distance runner. What she has done is very impressive."

Freshman Katlyn Long took second (13.4) in the 100 and freshman Chloe Schneiders placed second (19.6) in the 100 hurdles. Schneiders also is expected to compete in the hurdles and on some of the relays.

The Lady Black Tigers hope to continue to make strides despite losing three seniors to graduation.

They are Maddie Johnston, a regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles who is now competing for Walsh University in North Canton, Erika Nockengost, who is throwing at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, and Madelyn Bauer, a distance runner.

The Lady Black Tigers' other senior is thrower Holly Williams.

Two juniors hope to make a splash in the sprinting events. They are Paige Modic and Alyssa Krokos.

Other sophomores include Kelsey Mayes (sprints, pole vault and long jump) and Bryn Torok (throwing events).

"Kelsey has shown tremendous growth in a year," Scourfield said.

Another promising freshman is sprinter Kaitlin Wilson.

Scourfield's assistant coaches are Danny Brown (sprints), Jeremy Glass (throwing), Stuart Davis (distance) and Tom Taylor (pole vault).

"All of them are Falls' grads," Scourfield said. "We've had the same group for six or seven years. There's a level of comfort. The girls know what to expect and they know what's going on. There aren't a lot of questions or indecision."

The Lady Black Tigers were scheduled to compete at the Longstreth Relays April 1 at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson. Results were not available at press time.

They 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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