Trib HSSN May Madness: Jess Strom, Steel Valley vs. Morgan Ryan, Hempfield

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | 9:00 AM


Over the course of the next month and a half, May Madness will determine who fans believe is the WPIAL Athlete of the Century.

HSSN has put together two 32-player brackets, one for the boys and one for the girls, of WPIAL alums. Outside of a few exceptions, the field is made up of former district players who excelled in more than one sport.

Each weekday, May Madness will have one matchup each on the boys and girls bracket with a little background info on each athlete found in a daily tale of the tape.

Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday and running through 9 a.m. Wednesday, you can vote on the HSSN twitter page on the two athletes featured in this first-round matchup.

Check the HSSN website at noon Wednesday for the matchup’s final results.

Here is the contest for the girls. Round 1, Day 13:

Jess Strom vs. Morgan Ryan is a matchup of an athlete who was very good at hitting the back or bottom of the net in two different sports early in the first decade against one who dominated the strike zone late in the second decade.

Jess Strom — Steel Valley Class of 2001

(Basketball, soccer)

• 2000 and 2001 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 10 all-star team member.

• Scored 2,840 points in her career, putting her fifth on the all-time WPIAL girls basketball scoring list.

• Led the WPIAL in scoring in both her junior and senior seasons, averaging more than 28 points per game in 2001.

• In scoring 783 points in 2001, she shot 54% from the field, 56% from 3-point range and 83% from the free throw line.

• Helped Steel Valley reach the WPIAL Class AA championship game as a freshman, where the Ironmen lost to Geibel Catholic.

• All-section player in both soccer and basketball as a junior and senior.

• Broke the WPIAL girls soccer record for most goals in a career with 205.

• Inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame in 2012.

• Went on to play college basketball at Penn State.

Morgan Ryan — Hempfield Class of 2017

(Softball, basketball, volleyball)

• 2017 Gatorade Pennsylvania softball player of the year.

• 2017 Trib HSSN softball player of the year.

• 2016 Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association player of the year.

• Set school records at Hempfield for most pitching victories with 73, most home runs with 16 and most RBIs with 100.

• Won nine games as a freshman pitcher, 19 as a sophomore, 23 as a junior and 22 as a senior.

• In her senior season, Ryan was 22-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 140 innings pitched with 199 strikeouts. She batted .450 with five home runs and 37 RBIs.

• Hempfield won six championships in Ryan’s four years in the circle with four consecutive WPIAL championships and back-to-back PIAA titles in her junior and senior seasons.

• Also played basketball and volleyball in her four years at Hempfield.

• Plays college softball at Notre Dame.

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