Beacon Journal staff report
University of Akron cross country freshman Clayton Murphy was named All-Ohio Freshman of the Year and head coach Lee LaBadie was named Coach of the Year on Thursday by the All-Ohio Coaches Association following the most successful season in the history of the Zips men’s cross country program.
Murphy, an All-MAC second-team selection, was the Zips’ top finisher in three of six races last fall, including a third-place finish at the Tommy Evans Invitational and a fourth-place finish at the All-Ohio Championships.
Murphy also led the Zips to a runner-up finish at the MAC Championships with a 13th-place finish.
LaBadie earned his Coach of the Year honors after leading the Zips to a team title at the All-Ohio Cross Country Championships and to a second-place finish at the MAC Championships, the best finish in program history.
The Zips’ overall team title at the All-Ohio Cross Country Championships was just the second in school history and the first since 1963.
The University of Akron men’s basketball team will hold its Eighth Annual Teddy Bear Toss on Monday at Rhodes Arena.
Fans are invited to bring new or gently used teddy bears or other stuffed animals and toss them on the court at halftime during the UA home game against Oral Roberts.
The collected toys will be donated to underprivileged children and distributed by the University of Akron Police Department.
University of Akron soccer seniors Reinaldo Brenes, Robbie Derschang, Aodhan Quinn and Eric Stevenson have been invited to participate in the 2014 Major League Soccer Player Combine next month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The MLS Player Combine will be held Jan. 10-14 and will feature 50 of the nation’s top college seniors.
Brenes led the Zips in scoring this season with eight goals, while Quinn, who was named MAC Player of the Year, is currently a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the best college soccer player.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that Cleveland and Quicken Loans Arena will host the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, as well as the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Regional on March 26-28.
The MAC and Quicken Loans Arena have previously hosted the 2007 Division I Women’s Final Four as well as the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament second- and third-round games.
“The opportunity to host one of the NCAA’s signature championships is an exciting and impactful development,” Greater Cleveland Sports Commission President and CEO David Gilbert said. “The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will infuse an estimated $15 to $20 million of economic activity into Greater Cleveland and showcase Cleveland’s vibrant downtown to tens of thousands of athletes, fans parents and coaches.”
• Kent State sophomore defensive back Jordan Italiano (Canfield) was named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team on Thursday. Italiano has a 3.94 GPA and was one of three MAC players to earn the Academic All-America honor.
• Chris Gibbs (Grove City) and Dave Flegal (Baldwin Wallace), former Revere standouts, were named to the Capital One 2013 Academic All-American Division III football team. Gibbs was Honorable Mention All-PAC and Flegal was a second-team All-OAC selection.