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Ibarra does not dwell on injuries

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When Beechcroft High School senior Stephanie Ibarra thinks about what she has endured while playing sports the last three-plus years, it's enough to make her shake her head.

It's rarely been too much, though, to keep her from trying to put her teammates above herself.

Ibarra, a three-sport athlete for the Cougars who is in her final prep season this spring with the softball program, has endured everything from concussions to a fractured skull.

"I didn't sign up for half of this," Ibarra said, shaking her head. "I'm not going to cry about it."

Ibarra has been a key player the last three seasons for the Cougars, who were 2-4 overall and 2-3 in the City League-North Division before playing Mifflin on April 23.

She also competed for the girls soccer and swimming and diving teams in addition to playing softball for four years. She started at third base as a sophomore and is in her second season as the Cougars' second baseman.

In addition to the head injuries she has sustained, Ibarra was planning to meet with doctors April 22 because of an umbilical hernia. She hopes the surgery won't occur during the softball season.

"My sister (Amy Kerns) is the (Beechcroft girls) soccer coach, and she was telling me that Stephanie just took it in stride when she got hurt," coach Mandy Cox said. "I know she's had (some head injuries) but she doesn't give up. She's a really good kid and a good leader. She works really hard."

Ibarra played defender, defensive midfielder and center midfielder in soccer. She had nine career goals, including three last season when the Cougars went 3-6-1.

During a game last fall against Columbus East, Ibarra took a shoulder to the face but continued to play. After the game, she experienced double vision and light-headedness and was diagnosed with a mild concussion.

During her junior swimming season, she endured a fractured skull during an outside conditioning exercise. Although Ibarra isn't sure exactly what occurred to cause the fracture, she spent three nights in a hospital.

She believes she gets her toughness from her father, Jose Ibarra.

"Every now and then I do have pains, but I'm not going to let my team down," she said.

Her mother, Hortencia Zamora, met her father in Mexico, and they moved to the United States more than 20 years ago.

Ibarra speaks Spanish and English and also is taking French courses. She has been considering entering the Army National Guard after high school but first is planning to attend Columbus State.

Because of her head injuries she's considering a career in neurology or sports medicine.

Beechcroft opened by beating Linden-McKinley 25-6 on March 31 and picked up its second win April 4 when East was forced to forfeit. The Cougars were leading 10-0 after two innings against the Tigers, who had just nine players and had one suffer an injury.

Beechcroft lost to Northland 11-7 on April 11, but Ibarra had two RBI.

Ibarra is part of a senior class that also includes Melvon Cannady (P/1B), Starlah Germany (C), Elizabeth Ramos (OF), Mary Stewart (P), Janea Walburg (P/OF) and Alyssa Wright (OF).

"We're working hard regardless of the weather," Ibarra said. "We all get together outside of softball and see each other in the halls. We have a pretty good bond."

Northland throwers making progress

By the City League track and field meet May 12 and 14, the Northland girls team hopes its ability to score in multiple events will help it contend with sprinter-led Eastmoor Academy.

Two events the Vikings didn't score in during the league meet a year ago are the shot put and discus, but they hope that will change this year.

Senior Phoebe Mesecher, junior Dylys Gyimah and freshman Teneya Hale all have been showing improvement, according to girls throwing coach Mary Ellen Binns.

"Phoebe started out at about 60 or 70 (feet) in the shot put and now she can get to 80 or 90," Binns said. "Dylys normally gets about 50 in the discus, but she popped a 72 and she also had an 80 but it went foul. I can see (Hale) coming around in a year or two."

The Vikings finished sixth (45) in the eight-team Pat McMillin Invitational on April 19 at Whitehall behind champion Bexley (100) and will compete Saturday, April 26, in the Yellow Jacket Relays at Mount Vernon.

Northland hopes a sprint corps that includes senior Kennedy Dulaney and juniors Mariah Nevels, Ariel Skipper and Armani Skipper will lead the team to success throughout the rest of the season. Armani Skipper sat out last season because of a torn ACL.

Hughes, Rahmaan leading Bearcats

The Brookhaven boys and girls track teams next compete Wednesday, April 30, in the Braves Invitational at Whetstone.

Because of low numbers, putting together relays has been a struggle thus far.

In the Mifflin Invitational on April 11, sophomore Rodell Rahmaan won the boys 300-meter hurdles (43.4 seconds) and was third in the high jump (5-2).

Also, senior Paul Hughes was second in the shot put (35-10 1/2), fourth in the 100 (12.04) and fifth in the 200 (25.48) and junior Matthew Lara won the discus (106). Brookhaven finished fourth (68) of five teams behind champion Independence (170).

The girls scored 30 points in the six-team Mifflin Invitational as Africentric (154) was first. Lorraine Danglade was second in the shot put (31-3 1/2) and discus (85-9).

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