Seminole swimmer Brandon Christian committed to West Virginia on Tuesday.
The decision was easy. Christian said the school is where his parents met and he has a lot of family members who still live in the area.
“I have been a fan all of my life,” Christian said. “Ever since I started swimming and actually got serious about it, it has been a dream of mine to go there and swim. Once the coach contacted me and took me on an official visit, I fell in love with the team and coaching staff, as well as the campus.”
Christian, a senior, is a distance swimmer. Last year, he was fifth in the 500 free (4:34.43) and sixth in the 200 free (1:41.49) at the 4A state meet. Two weeks ago, Christian took first in the 200 free (1:42.00) and second in the 500 free (4:38.05) at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet. Full Story
The Associated Press Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings. Local teams in bold:
1. Christopher Columbus Catholic (14) 6-0 146 2
2. Vero Beach 5-0 120 3
3. Atlantic Community 5-0 116 4
4. Charles Flanagan 4-1 78 6
5. West Orange 5-1 73 10
6. South Dade (1) 5-0 65 9
7. Mandarin 5-0 62 7
8. Apopka 5-1 58 1
9. Kissimmee Osceola 5-1 44 8
10. Lake Brantley 6-0 16 NR
Others receiving votes: Fort Pierce Central 14, Plantation 10, Sandalwood 10, Coral Gables 7, Boca Raton Community 4, Manatee 1, Treasure Coast 1.
1. St. Thomas Aquinas (15) 5-0 150 1
2. Dwyer 5-0 132 2
3. Venice 6-0 121 3
4. Braden River 6-0 107 4
5. Sickles 6-0 89 5
6. Kathleen 6-0 49 10
7. Buchholz 4-1 48 T8
7. Oakleaf 5-1 48 7 …Full Story
Tampa Bay's top area runners so far this season.
1. Noah Perkins (Seffner Christian), 15:20.80; 2. Trevor Foley (Hernando), 15:34.53; 3. Luke Peterson (Shorecrest) 16:02.30; 4. Leo Ochoa (Berkeley Prep) 16:10.30; 5. Rob Leverone (Plant) 16:10.30; 6. Quasan Markowski (Plant) 16:11.90; 7. Andrew Myers (Steinbrenner) 16:37.70; 8. Walker Thomas, (Plant) 16:41.30; 9. Haftom Fliegelman (Durant) 16:41.50; 10. Ian Campbell (Steinbrenner), 16:42.70; 11. John Robbins (Jesuit) 16:46.20; 12. Hunter McCann (Admiral Farragut) 16:50.19; 13. Jack Pironti (Carrollwood Day) 16:53.10; 14. Paris Williams (Sickles), 16:54.62; 15. Joseph Salerno (Wiregrass Ranch), 16:56.60; 16. Justin Nunamaker (Northside Christian), 16:57.20; 17. Jackson Gillette (Largo), 16:57.60; 18. A.J. Jimenez (Osceola), 17:03.49; 19. Matthew Wohlwend (St. Petersburg) 17:03.90; 20. Colton Heath (Steinbrenner) 17:05.90.
Girls …Full Story
Times file (2014)
Unlike most area teams, Carrollwood Day gets a bit of a breather before districts start up.
1. Carrollwood Day (17-2)
This week: Tuesday at Seffner Christian
Scoop: The Patriots may have to shake off some rust after taking more than a week off for service missions. There is only one match this week and one next week against Wiregrass Ranch, so the Patriots are easing into postseason play.
2. Berkeley Prep (10-7)
This week: Tuesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo, Thursday vs. Shorecrest
Scoop: The Bucs went 2-4 at the Asics Challenge in Chicago over the weekend, but we’ll cut them some slack because of the level of competition they’ve faced; the Bucs’ seven losses this season have all been to highly successful teams. They should get a bit of a break against the Phoenix before playing Shorecrest in their regular-season finale.
3. Palm Harbor University (15-2)
This week: Monday vs. Tampa Catholic, Tuesday at Calvary Christian, Friday-Saturday at Dig Pink OVA Tournament
Scoop: The Hurricanes cruised to four wins last week, all in straight sets. This week is heavy as well, including the competitive Dig Pink Tournament. PHU has won six straight since the Berkeley Premier and appears to be getting better as tournament time approaches.
4. Wharton (13-1) …Full Story
Shorecrest’s boys and St. Petersburg’s girls each won team swim titles at the St. Petersburg City Meet.
The Chargers’ Dominic Hoefer was the diving champion with 356.90 and teammates Jake Andrews, Corey Cureton, Jack Lavely and Joseph Brockman were on the winning 400 free relay (3:33.09). But most of Shorecrest’s 455.50 points came from its superior depth. After all, the Chargers placed in the top four in every event.
Lakewood’s Jonathan Long won the 50 free (22.49) and 100 free (50.74). His brother, Ethan, took first in the 200 free (1:50.32) and 500 free (4:59.29). Both were part of the winning 200 medley relay (1:45.58) and 200 free relay (1:34.60) teams.
Northeast’s Colton Gray was a champion in the 200 individual medley (2:05.50) and 100 back (56.31).
On the girls side, the Green Devils won with 456 points. St. Petersburg was led by distance specialist Peyton Palsha, who followed up her dominant performance at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet by winning city titles in the 200 free (1:51.62) and the 500 free (4:56.87). The Green Devils other champion was Lauren LaPeter in diving with 421.60 points. …Full Story
MONICA HERNDON | Times
Justin Manning and Armwood may be in the top spot for the long haul.
1. Armwood (5-0)
This week’s opponent: at Tampa Bay Tech
Scoop: The Hawks haven’t given up a touchdown since a Sept. 11 game against Bloomingdale, so the defense is in good shape to take on a Tampa Bay Tech squad this week that is averaging nearly 23 points per game. By the looks of the rest of Armwood’s schedule, the Hawks’ likely won’t be giving up their top spot in the rankings any time soon.
2. Sickles (6-0)
This week’s opponent: at Plant
Scoop: Just how good is Sickles? We’ll find out this week when the Gryphons take on Plant, their toughest opponent yet. The Sickles’ defense — which is giving up just 2.3 points per game — will definitely be challenged more than it ever has this season, but we’re confident this year’s matchup will be closer than last year’s 54-6 decision in favor of the Panthers.
3. Clearwater Central Catholic (6-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic …Full Story
Shorecrest's Greyson Porter will take some momentum into next week's district tournament. The Chargers' senior shot a 6 under 66 at the CCC Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Belleair Country Club. His winning score was four shots better than Eric Souchak of Sarasota Riverview. This is the second 18-hole tournament win of the regular season for Porter. He also won the Mustang Invitational at Seminole Lake CC.
Mike Spinger of Mitchell tied for third with a 71. Sarasota Riverview won the team championship with a 295. Mitchell was second in the 15 team field with a 301. Aside from Spinger, Cody Miano shot a 76 and Ben Wagner and Max Sabo each shot 77.
The next closest local team was Shorecrest, which finished sixth.Full Story
Strawberry Crest came into Friday's game against Lennard winless and without its head coach, who had been fired earlier in the week. The Longhorns saw the Chargers' struggles, Lennard coach Keith Chattin said, and incorrectly assumed it would be an easy win.
Strawberry Crest proved from the start that wouldn't be the case.
The Chargers scored on their first drive, then again after a Lennard fumble, going up by two touchdowns early. But Lennard running back Jahryn Bailey rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns to help Lennard come from behind, and the Longhorns (5-0, 2-0) won 28-21 to remain undefeated.
"Those guys really rallied together and they played extremely hard," Chattin said of the Chargers (0-6, 0-3). "It took us a while to get settled down and get into the game."
Once they did, though, Bailey and quarterback Devin Black led the way. Strawberry Crest scored led 21-14 at the half, but after the break it was all Longhorns. Bailey scored a touchdown in each quarter of the game, and Black threw for 121 yards and ran for 87 more. …Full Story
Andy Warrener | Special to the Times
Riverview sophomore Bailey Hertenstein, right, and Tampa Prep freshman Josie Garba are the hottest runners in Hillsborough County right now and train together with coach Steve Dunn in Fishhawk. Hertenstein is coming off wins at the Flrunners Invite and Don Bishop, while Garba won Thursday's IRC Invite in Largo.
The trend of four-team sweeps continues in Tampa Bay area cross country. Last week, it was Osceola taking the Mitchell Invite for a four-team sweep. The week before, it was Wiregrass Ranch sweeping all four races at the Land O'Lakes Keppel Invite.
On Saturday, it was Hillsborough County powerhouse Newsome making it a complete sweep, winning the varsity girls team title with 29 points to runnerup Robinson's 79 at the Don Bishop Invitational. The Newsome boys varsity squad scored a 38-87 win over Robinson with Plant City in third (91). The Wolves even took both JV races, the boys stamping the meet with a perfect score of 15. It was the third straight team titles for both varsity squads.
The girls went off first through the campus at Brandon High School where runners made a figure-eight pattern around the athletic fields and school while circling back through the football stadium and track. The course took two laps around the campus with the last 300 meters circumnavigating the asphalt track before finishing down the 100-meter straightaway. …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Sept. 26 through Friday, Oct. 2. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Ali Bronson, volleyball, Hernando: The junior helped the Leopards to three wins this week, tallying 35 kills and 109 digs. She leads the team in both categories (201 kills, 557 digs) this season.
Ava LaBrant, cross country, Indian Rocks Christian: The seventh-grader won the WD Invitational in 21 minutes, 14 seconds — 30 seconds ahead of the closest competitor. The Golden Eagles were the only Class A school competing with 10 other 3A and 4A schools.
Peyton Palsha, swimming, St. Petersburg: The junior took control of the distance events at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet, winning the 200 free in one minute, 50.46 seconds and the 500 free in 4:54.35. She was more than three seconds ahead of her closest competitor. …Full Story
The Clearwater Central Catholic Invitational tournament will be held on Saturday at Belleair Country Club. It is the final local 18 hole tournament before district tournaments begin on Oct. 12. There is a 1 p.m. shotgun start.
The schools participating are CCC, Mitchell, Sarasota Riverview, Calvary Christian, Northside Christian, Sebring, Countryside, Olympia, Shorecrest, East Lake, Palm Harbor University, Sickles, Spruce Creek, Tampa Prep and West Orange.
Admission is free.Full Story
The first half of the season was a rough one for East Lake with three losses – two more than the Eagles had in the previous three regular seasons combined.
But East Lake is starting to rebound. Thursday’s 42-6 win over the International School of Broward was the Eagles' second straight.
The scoring was balanced with six players scoring. Bobby Goldinak started the first half and threw touchdown passes to Bryce Miller and Kyle Fearrington. Tupac Blanch, Bailey Fowler and Michael Del Duca also scored on the ground to give East Lake a 35-0 lead at the half.
In the second half, David Lucas had a short touchdown run to round out the scoring for the Eagles (3-3).
It was the second time this season East Lake has scored more than 40 points.
But it is the improved play of the defense that is biggest reason for the recent turnaround.
East Lake gave up a combined 95 points in consecutive losses to Lake Brantley and St. Petersburg that dropped the Eagles to 1-3. Since then, East Lake has allowed just 13 points in wins over Tarpon Springs and International School of Broward. …Full Story
ST. PETERSBURG – Newsome’s Dhruv Patel admits he is not a very long hitter, but it didn’t take monster drives to win Thursday’s Vinoy Classic.
Patel hit most of Vinoy’s narrow fairways and nearly all of its greens in regulation on the way to 1-under 70. He was the only player to shoot under par and won the individual championship by one shot over three other players.
Patel also helped Newsome win the team championship with 295. Plant finished second with 304 and Lakewood Ranch was third with 314.
“It’s a short course, very skinny off the tee,” said Patel, a sophomore. “If you’re a longer hitter, you’ve got to keep it straight. Luckily, I’m not a very long hitter and I was able to keep it straight.’”
This was Patel’s first individual win in high school this season. He had two bogeys and three birdies in his round. He didn’t figure a 70 would win the tournament.
“I was kind of pulling the ball all day so I just played that shot the rest of the way,” Patel said. “I aimed a little right of my target. I hit a lot of greens. I’ve been doing that for a while. I really wasn’t playing great and I didn’t think a 70 would win.” …Full Story
MONICA HERNDON | TIMES
Armwood's Byron Cowart, now at Auburn, was an Under Armour MVP in the last game.
One of the nation’s top high school football showcases is leaving St. Petersburg.
The Under Armour All-American Game, held at Tropicana Field the past six years, is moving to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The game is Jan. 2.
“We had an incredible run at the Trop and love working with the folks there,” Intersport Vice President of Properties Drew Russell said. “We just wanted to explore another option with a more traditional football venue."
ESPN airs the games, which routinely draw more than 20,000 fans. The last game set an attendance record of 25,461.
The event features some of the nation's top high school senior recruits. The Under Armour Game and U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played in San Antonio, compete for the country's top prospects.
The Citrus Bowl was the site for the first two UA games in 2008 and '09. Practices the week leading up the game are held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
The 2016 game will be held a day after the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Russell said because the venue now has a turf field, it's an easy turnaround. …Full Story
DAVID W DOONAN | Special to Times
Can Jesuit keep its unbeaten streak alive? Our staff writers think so.
Bradenton St. Stephen’s at Bishop McLaughlin
Rodney Page: St. Stephen’s 34-14
Kelly Parsons: St. Stephen’s 45-17
Bob Putnam: St. Stephen’s 41-14
Zephyrhills Christian at Windermere Prep
Rodney Page: Windermere Prep 21-14
Kelly Parsons: Windermere Prep 24-10
Bob Putnam: Windermere Prep 31-23
St. Petersburg Catholic at Clearwater Central Catholic
Rodney Page: CCC 56-6
Kelly Parsons: CCC 52-7
Bob Putnam: CCC 49-0
Winter Haven All Saints’ at Keswick Christian
Rodney Page: Keswick Christian 36-13
Kelly Parsons: Keswick Christian 31-16
Bob Putnam: Keswick Christian 40-13
Mitchell at Pasco
Rodney Page: Mitchell 27-7
Kelly Parsons: Pasco 14-13
Bob Putnam: Mitchell 17-14
Hudson at Zephyrhills
Rodney Page: Zephyrhills 42-12
Kelly Parsons: Zephyrhills 28-18
Bob Putnam: Zephyrhills 37-13
Sunlake at Springstead
Rodney Page: Sunlake 42-14
Kelly Parsons: Sunlake 45-10
Bob Putnam: Sunlake 38-7
Lecanto at Central
Rodney Page: Lecanto 28-7
Kelly Parsons: Lecanto 21-20
Bob Putnam: Lecanto 21-10
Fivay at Wesley Chapel
Rodney Page: Fivay 26-14
Kelly Parsons: Fivay 32-17
Bob Putnam: Fivay 24-20
Ridgewood at River Ridge
Rodney Page: River Ridge 23-21
Kelly Parsons: River Ridge 35-24
Bob Putnam: River Ridge 24-7
Citrus at Weeki Wachee …Full Story