There are fewer events on the daily high school sports schedules, but the stakes are going up for area athletes as the spring season heads into its final weeks.
In track and field, the three area conferences will hold their championship meets this week.
In Portage today, the WestPAC athletes will gather for their championships while the Laurel Highlands and Heritage meets will be on Tuesday at Somerset and United, respectively.
District track is the following week with the state championships set for May 24-25 at Shippensburg University.
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Tops in District 5: As of the most recent District 5 ratings, North Star holds the top spot in Class A baseball followed by Meyersdale, Southern Fulton, McConnellsburg, Berlin, Hope For Hyndman, Shade and Rockwood for the top eight spots.
In Class AA, Bedford is the leader in Class AA baseball with Everett, Northern Bedford, Chestnut Ridge and Windber all about .500.
In softball, Shade leads the Class A pack with Conemaugh Township, Fannett-Metal, Meyersdale, Hope For Hyndman, Rockwood, Tussey Mountain and Forbes Road rounding out the field of eight which automatically qualify for the playoffs.
Chestnut Ridge is in the driver’s seat in Class AA followed by Everett.
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Brightest at Bellwood: Richland’s Kelci Warshel was a double winner at last week’s Bellwood track and field invitational.
The junior won the 100 hurdles and the long jump.
The Rams’ 3200 relay foursome of Julius Eckroth, Michael Derricott, Nicholas Marx and Bobby Colvin set a meet record in the event. Colvin also won in the 800 while Linnie Joy was the victor in the shot put.
Bedford had three winners at the meet including Cody DeMoss (javelin), Josiah Koontz (discus) and Will Kachman (3200). Laurel Diehl, Jeri Rogish, Hannah Grimes and Carrie Baker of the Bisons claimed the girls 3200 relay title.
The other area winners were Gus Yahner in the pole vault and Derek Bearer in the 400, both from Northern Cambria.
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Champions crowned: In the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, the boys and girls track champions and the tennis winner have been determined.
The Bedford boys and the Forest Hills girls were the track and field champions.
The Bisons and Rangers, who should be the favorites heading into Tuesday’s conference meet at Somerset, were both unbeaten with 11-0 records.
Bedford was a tri-champion along with Richland and Central Cambria last season while Forest Hills won for the fourth straight season.
It was also a four-peat for the Westmont Hilltop boys’ tennis team.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.