CLEARFIELD — A record-setting performance by 2006 national placewinner Ciara Strickland of Curwensville highlighted the 31st annual Clearfield BPOE Lodge No. 540 Qualifier for the Elks National \”Hoop Shoot\” Free Throw Contest at the Clearfield Middle School gym Saturday afternoon.
Strickland, a two-time champ in the 8-and-9 age group, moved to the 10-and-11 division and made 22 of 25 shots to break the previous high of 21 set by Amy Tomasko of Moshannon Valley in 2000 and tie the overall girls mark established by Mika Lugue of Clearfield competing in the 12-and-13 division in 1989.
Strickland finished ninth in the national competition at Springfield, Mass., last year after winning North Central District, Pennsylvania State and Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey Region titles.
Megan Witherow of Clearfield St. Francis also claimed her third crown, sinking 18 free throws in the 12-and-13 division. She was first in the 8-and-9 division in 2003 and in the 10-and-11 division in 2005, when she was the North Central District champion and Pennsylvania State runner-up.
Ashley Khouri of St. Francis was the other girls champ, topping the 8-ad-9 division with nine free throws.
Winning boys titles were Austin Krise (18) of Clearfield in the 8-and-9 division, Seth Ford (12) of St. Francis in the 10-and-11 division and Aaron Angstadt (16) of Clearfield in the 12-and-13 division. Ford and Kyle Johns of Curwensville, the 8-and-9 champ in 2005, had to go to a shoot-off. Both were two-for-five in the first round before Ford posted a 3-2 edge in the second round.
Thanks to Strickland, Curwensville repeated as the team champion by sinking 87 free throws.
The next stop for the local event champions will be the North Central District event at Tyrone Jan. 27.
1. Curwensville (Cu), 87; 2. Clearfield St. Francis (SF), 76; 3. Clearfield (Cl), 61.
8-and-9 Division — 1. Ashley Khouri, SF, 9; 2. Tiera Ferguson, Cu, 8; 3. Kelcie Schultz, Cl.
10-and-11 Division — 1. Ciara Strickland, Cu, 22; 2. Brittany Renaud, Cl, 9; 3. Amy Tomasko, SF, 8.
12-and-13 Division — 1. Megan Witherow, SF, 18; 2. Savannah Strickland, Cu, 14; 3. Jennifer Grenus, Cl, 9.
8-and-9 Division — 1. Austin Krise, Cl, 18; 2. Christian LaParne, SF, 16; 3. Mikey Fleming, Cu, 15.
10-and-11 Division — 1. Seth Ford, SF, 12 (2-3 in shoot-off); 2. Kyle Johns, Cu, 12 (2-2 in shoot-off); 3. Christian Lezzer, Cl, 9.
12-and-13 Division — 1. Aaron Angstadt, Cl, 16; 2. Andrew Malloy, SF, 13; 3. Jason Bloom, Cu, 12.