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Flashback: Memorable North Suncoast teams and players from 2012-13

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Wed. May 29, 2013 | Matt Baker | Email

Flashback: Memorable North Suncoast teams and players from 2012-13

As another school year comes to a close, the Times is taking a final look back at some of the best teams, players and stories from 2012-13:

Best team
Springstead wrestling:
The Eagles weren’t as dominant as last year, claiming only one individual state title (Jordan Rivera), but they staged a strong comeback in Lakeland to earn a third consecutive state championship — the only team title on the North Suncoast. The 3.5-point victory over Lake Gibson was the closest finish at state in 16 years.

Honorable mention
Academy at the Lakes girls basketball:
Coach Karim Nohra took his powerhouse program even further, to the Class 2A state final.
Pasco football: Class 5A region finalist hasn’t lost to a county team since 2007 and outscored North Suncoast foes 451-44 last fall.
Sunlake boys soccer: Connor Gilboy had one of the best seasons in county history, and his Seahawks won their first 30 games before losing by a goal in the 3A state semifinals.
Wiregrass Ranch boys tennis: Didn’t drop a set until after the district tournament to qualify for its second team state appearance.
River Ridge softball: 6A region finalist’s only loss came to Plant (1-0) in a tournament.

Best performance
Janarion Grant, Pasco:
The Rutgers signee showed no signs of rust in his return from a hand injury, scoring five touchdowns four different ways — including a 38-yard rush that coach Tom McHugh called the best he’s ever seen — in a 54-20 win over Fivay.

Honorable mention
Erik Thomas, Wesley Chapel:
Take your pick: the 35-point, 32-rebound game against Ridgewood, the 46-point explosion against Hudson or the 35-point outburst against rival Wiregrass Ranch.
Kayla Kivinski, Gulf: All-Suncoast wing had a triple double (49 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks) against Wiregrass Ranch.
Chase Ingram, Wesley Chapel: The senior ace threw a 66-pitch, 13-strikeout perfect game against Gulf.
Makenzie Goluba, River Ridge: Sophomore star threw back-to-back no-hitters (against Tarpon Springs and Fivay) and didn’t allow an earned run in her first 27 innings.

Biggest surprise
Wiregrass Ranch baseball:
The Bulls had never made the playoffs before Zach and Austin Drury pitched them there this spring. Wiregrass then knocked off Countryside and nationally ranked Steinbrenner to advance to the 7A region final.

Honorable mention
Hudson football:
The Cobras ended their 24-game losing streak with a comeback victory over Ridgewood on Nathan Binder’s 22-yard field goal en route to a three-win season.
Hernando softball: The Leopards hovered near .500 and missed the playoffs last year, but, behind Courtney Riddle, the young squad broke out this spring with 22 wins and a trip to the Class 5A region finals.
Mitchell boys basketball: The Mustangs earned their first ever playoff victory (against Kathleen) and nearly knocked off Winter Haven in the region semis, a year after being blown out 71-29.

Best story
Anclote:
Matt Wicks’ Sharks earned a dramatic, emotional trip to their first football postseason by beating Zephyrhills and Fivay in a tiebreaker for the No. 2 spot in Class 5A, District 6. The balanced boys basketball team had no stars but just enough talent to make its inaugural playoff appearance.

Honorable mention
Fivay volleyball:
The Falcons sent coach Linda McQuade off with a bang, ending the Pasco County veteran’s storied career with the school’s first trip to the region final.
Springstead football: Longtime coach Bill Vonada savored a 9-2 season and the school’s first district title since 1996 before retiring after 15 years.
Mitchell girls soccer: After two close calls, Karl Kukec’s Mustangs finally made their first trip to the state semifinals after an undefeated regular season.

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