A group of 16-year-old volleyball players from seven area high schools overcame a slow start to their season to qualify for an elite national tournament.
The Toledo Volleyball Club's 16-1 team recently qualified for the national event after winning a prestigious regional meet.
The local team of 16-year-olds beat out 112 other clubs from 19 states and the District of Columbia to win the USA Junior North East Qualifier in Baltimore on April 6. By taking the title, the team qualified for the USA Junior National tournament in Dallas July 1-4.
The seven gold-medal winners are all sophomores: Baley Bernthisel (Otsego High School), Bailey BredenbeckCorp (Perrysburg), Ellie Comes (Southview), Jessica Nagy (Airport), Hannah Romstadt (St. Ursula), Erin Schatzle (Monroe), and Suzanne Taylor (Ida).
Steve Barr and his daughter, Erin Dircksen, coach the team.
"When the season started we struggled," Barr said. "We finished in the middle of the pack in all the tournaments we went to. So I was not expecting a whole lot going in. We changed a couple players around a little bit.
"We didn't lose a single match the whole weekend, which was a pretty outstanding thing for this team to do."
The TVC 16-1 squad also accomplished the feat playing shorthanded. While most tournament teams had nine to 12 players, TVC had only seven players for the three-day tournament's final two days.
The team won three matches on April 4, then took four straight each of the next two days for an 11-0 record - the only unbeaten mark among tournament entries.
The 16-1 team swept seven matches and overall the team won 22 games and lost only four.
GOLF: Notre Dame Academy High School senior Heather Jorgensen, a standout golfer, has committed to play for the University of Dayton.
Jorgensen, of Toledo, will play Division I golf for Dayton while pursuing a business degree.
At Notre Dame, Jorgensen won a City League title and was named first team All-District. She was the City League tournament medalist with a two-round (79-71) 150 for the Eagles last fall.
Jorgensen was Notre Dame's No. 1 golfer with a 10-stroke improvement over her junior year and was voted her team's co-MVP.
Also a solid tennis player, Jorgensen is believed to be the first City League athlete to ever be selected to the all-league first team in two sports (golf and tennis) during the same season. She was a state qualifier in both sports.
BASEBALL: Two St. John's Jesuit High School baseball players have been invited to showcase their abilities to college coaches in Cincinnati this summer.
Juniors Paul Kwapich and Jimmie Shaw have been selected to participate in the Blue-Grey Showcase July 26-27. The event is sponsored by Pro-Motion Sports USA, a scouting partner for Baseball America.
Over 50 college coaches will scout the players from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and surrounding states.
Shaw is a pitcher and first baseman. Kwapich plays shortstop and second base.
Candidates for the showcase must be nominated to participate in the annual Blue-Grey Classic.
BASEBALL: The Great Black Swamp Frogs, a baseball team that plays by the game's original rules, will hold the season's first home game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Wildwood Metropark.
The Frogs, who are based in Sylvania, play Civil War-era baseball using rules established in 1860.
The players wear old-time uniforms, while the umpire and the scorer appear in period attire.
While the game the Frogs play is basically the same as baseball today, there are differences in rules, strategies, and equipment that are duplicated as accurately as possible, according to the team's Web site.
The game is played primarily for exercise and enjoyment, as well as to educate spectators on the origins of baseball. Matches are "family-friendly."
The Frogs opened their season with two wins over Wood County-based teams. For more information call Rick at 419-843-1725.
WEIGHT LIFTING: Oak Harbor resident Tim Judge recently broke a world record for his age group in the bench press.
Judge bench-pressed 358 1/2 pounds in the 148-pound Masters class at an American Powerlifting Federation national competition in Baton Rouge, La. on May 4.
Judge, 49, recovered from hip replacement surgery in 2007 and shoulder reconstruction surgery in 2006. Judge bench-pressed a personal best to break the record for his age and weight class.
Judge has been a power lifter for many years and has won several international competitions.
HOCKEY: Monroe native Matt Mahalak, a goalie, led the East Coast Selects hockey team to a tournament title in Toronto.
Mahalak recorded two shutouts and allowed only two goals in four games at a North American Prospects Showcase tournament. The event featured 34 all-star teams from across North America.
Mahalak's team qualified for another NAPS tournament May 16-18 in Rochester, N.Y. The event will feature teams from Europe and North America.
Mahalak is a student at Culver Military Academy in Indiana. He led Culver to a state championship in March.
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