Ever since it joined the two-conference Suburban League in 2015, the Cuyahoga Falls girls track and field team has struggled mightily against its rivals.
The Lady Black Tigers are still far away from contending, but they took a huge step against their imposing new conference.
They finally got a win.
And here’s the icing on the cake: It was a rather lopsided victory.
Falls earned a convincing 113-24 win over Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a four-team National Conference competition last Saturday at Nordonia High School’s Boliantz Stadium in Macedonia.
The Lady Black Tigers also lost to Hudson 85-52 and to the host Lady Knights 99.5-37.5.
Falls nearly picked up win No. 2 against a longtime archrival. Unfortunately, the host Lady Black Tigers fell just short as they suffered a 61-58 defeat to Stow-Munroe Falls Tuesday at the Laybourne Sports Complex.
Falls is 1-5 in the National Conference with one dual meet left on its schedule.
Lady Black Tigers’ head coach Dan Scourfield was thrilled with his team’s performance against two of the stronger National Conference powers Saturday.
And, of course, he was thrilled to see his team get that elusive conference victory.
"The whole team competed really well," Scourfield said. "I couldn’t have been happier. We got our first Suburban League win ever and halfway through the meet, we were tied with Hudson.
"We lost a little bit of steam. We had one bad relay pass. Hudson has a really good team. We were competitive throughout most of the day."
That one bad pass took place in the 400-meter relay. As a result, the team of senior Nicole Bechter and freshmen Gracie Lowe and Jenai Blake and sophomore Katlyn Long placed third in 52.96 seconds.
"We blew a pass, but we still ran a season best," Scourfield said. "Our future is bright in the sprints."
Jacquelyn Shields led the way with a first-place jump of 16 feet, 3 inches. She also took second in the pole vault (9 feet).
"For the second week in a row, she won on her last jump," Scoutfield said. "I told her that I appreciate the fact that she won, but boy, I wish she would do it earlier. My old heart can’t take it."
De’Vine Shelton continues to shine this spring. She finished second in the 300 hurdles in 48.65 seconds.
"De’Vine ran a really good race," Scourfield said.
Shelton also joined Lowe, Shields and freshman Emma Brustoski on the second-place 800 relay team (1:49.51) and Shields, Anna Johnston and Madi Davis on the fourth-place 1,600 relay (4:24.76).
"The 4x2 ran their fastest time of the year," Scourfield said. "It was a combination of nice weather and running against Nordonia. It was a pretty fast relay. It was good for all of our girls."
Davis added a third in the high jump with a leap of 4-10.
Brynn Torok placed second in the shot put with a throw of 31-1 and third in the discus (95-8). Brustoski also had a stellar day for Falls. She captured fourth in the 400 in 1:10.55 and the shot put (30-5) and added a fifth in the 200 (27.7).
"Every day Emma performs, she learns," Scourfield said. "Emma was very good in the shot put in middle school."
Lowe (13.37), Blake (13.47) and Long (13.47) took the fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively, in the 100.
"Grace ran her best time of the year," Scourfield said. "Katlyn and Jenai ran well. Our future looks bright. We have four really good freshmen."
Scourfield also was impressed with the versatility of his sprinters. Blake joined Brustoski in the throwing event with a toss of 90-5 in the discus.
"It shows the versatility of these freshman girls," Scourfield said. "They are multi-dimensional."
Meredith Gallagher added a third in the 1,600 (5:47.5).
The four-team meet took place because all four squads have been hindered by cancellations.
"If you ask any of the coaches, they will agree: It’s a great setup," Scourfield said. "It eliminates the two dual meets per week. It reduces the wear and tear on the kids.
"It was a great day. The girls got to experience what it was like to be at an invitational even though it wasn’t an invitational."
While Scourfield was ecstatic by how things went Saturday, things didn’t go nearly as well against the Lady Bulldogs.
"It came down to us not performing to what we are capable of running in a couple of events," he said. "We had some performances that were subpar.
"Stow-Falls is a big competition regardless of the sport. We had some letdowns."
Fortunately for Scourfield, his talented group of freshman sprinters excelled.
The 800 relay team of Blake, Lowe, Shelton and Brustoski won in 1:49.6.
"They ran lights out," Scourfield said. "They keep getting faster. They were three girls and a senior. The freshmen were unfazed. Their attitude is, ‘Let’s go out and run.’"
The 400 team of Shelton, Long, Bechter and Lowe easily won in 52.4 seconds.
"It was no contest," Scourfield said. "Nicole has been a pleasant surprise. I wish she would have been around for all four years. She is running better and better every single meet."
Brustoski won the 200 (27.7) and 400 (1:02.1) races. Huffman also triumphed in two events. She won the 800 in 2:30 and the 1,600 in 5:26.
"Kayla wasn’t challenged a whole lot," Scourfield said. "We needed to have those two wins."
Huffman joined Davis, Shelton and Brustoski on the winning 1,600 relay (4:27).
Long took second in the 200 (28.1) and Lowe placed third in the 400 (1:05.9).
Also finishing in the top three for Falls were Kristica Barnett in the high jump (second, 4-10), Brynn Torok in the discus (second, 97-4), Katie Rozsa in the shot put (30-7.5) and sophomore Nadia Luksza (third, personal-best 2:37).
The pole-vault and long-jump events were not contested due to the wet weather.
"To the girls’ credit, they responded even though they got moved in and out of events," Scourfield said. "All season, the girls haven’t backed down from anybody. We didn’t get that same competitive nature Tuesday."
The Lady Black Tigers are scheduled to compete at the Bulldog Invitational this Saturday at Poland Seminary High School. The invitational is set to begin at 9 a.m.
Falls is scheduled to visit North Royalton in its conference finale May 1 at 4 p.m.
The Lady Black Tigers are set to compete at the Optimist May 5 at Austintown-Fitch High School. The competition is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.