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Athlete of the year: Argishti Gazari, Sr., Anclote
Why we picked him: One season after becoming the first Shark to qualify for state, Gazari finished his career with an impressive performance while establishing himself as the top distance runner on the North Suncoast. With a gold medal at the Class 2A state meet in the 3,200 meters and a bronze for third in the 1,600, he went back to his Holiday school having set a bar for success for the entire program.
Most impressive accomplishment: Last season, Gazari qualified for state in the 3,200 and didn’t disappoint, placing seventh in nine minutes, 57 seconds. The stellar run did two things: It proved he belonged and motivated him for his senior season. He took that motivation and bested his 3,200 time by 20 seconds (9:37.84) for first place. His personal-best time for the event (9:21.68) came at the Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville on April 6.
Future plans: His distance exploits were enough to catch the attention of the track staff at USF. The program signed him to a scholarship to run both track and cross country. USF cross country coach and track assistant Dena Reif pegged Gazari as the Bulls’ top distance threat for next season before he even ran at state.
Did you know? Gazari is a native of Armenia and didn’t move to the United States until three years ago when he was 16. A member of the Times’ all-North Suncoast cross country first team this past season, Gazari was the top finisher in Class 2A among all local runners and the only one to cross under 17 minutes (16:58). Gazari placed 19th to lead the Sharks.
100, Dominick Graham, Fr., Pasco: After breaking 11 seconds for the first time in his career (10.96) at regionals, Graham placed 16th at state.
200, Alonzo Pettiford, Sr., Anclote: Best finish on the North Suncoast at regionals, placing eighth in 23.13.
400, Max Livingstone, Jr., Ridgewood: Earned his personal-best time of 50.63 at state to place 12th. He won four first-place ribbons in the regular season.
800, Spencer Guerette, Jr., Anclote: The area’s best statistical runner at state, with a PR of 1.58.03 for eighth place in Class 2A.
1,600, Spencer Guerette, Jr., Anclote: Had a PR of 4:24.15 at regionals before finishing fourth at state (4:28.97), just behind Gazari.
3,200, Travis Nichols, So., Land O’Lakes: His time of 9:46.36 at regionals vaulted him to state, where he placed 16th. It was only the second time all season that he broke 10 minutes.
110 hurdles, Thomas Watson, Sr., Springstead: His 15.45 seconds at regionals for seventh place led the area.
300 hurdles, Travis Lord, Sr., Ridgewood: After a PR of 40.22 pushed him to state, the senior finished his career with a 12th-place showing.
High jump, Tony Hays, Sr., Ridgewood: Surpassed teammate Thomas Rodriguez as the top high jumper in the area by leaping a career-best 6 feet, 8 inches for bronze at state.
Pole vault, Evan Bales, Jr., River Ridge: His vault of 15 feet would have been good enough to win state most years, but he’ll have a shot to get more than bronze next season.
Long jump, Janarion Grant, Jr., Pasco: The Division I football prospect won his second straight state title with a leap of 23-2.
Triple jump, Alonzo Pettiford, Sr., Anclote: District champ cleared a PR of 43 feet at regionals to place eighth.
Shot put, Travis Manecke, Jr., Sunlake: Placed 14th in Class 3A with a toss of 44 feet, 3.75 inches after winning district title.
Discus, Travis Manecke, Jr., Sunlake: Another top-15 finish at state (138-08, 12th).
4x100 relay, Nature Coast (Matt Breida, Dominique Rawlins, Jacquez Kincade, Frank Villaizan): Finished eighth in Class 2A (42.90).
4x400 relay, Springstead (Bernard Ndedi, Richard Toth, Zackary Romblad, Thomas Watson): District champs finished seventh in regionals (3:28.79).
4x800 relay, Nature Coast (Tyler Moore, James Harkless, Kevin Ciccone, Wyatt Hessler): Ran 8:17.46 to place 13th at state.
100: Tyrail Hawkins, Jr., Hernando; 200: Michael Tancreti, Sr., Mitchell; 400: Thomas Watson, Sr., Springstead; 800: Chris Wilkinson, Sr., Land O’Lakes; 1,600: Ermias Bireda, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch; 3,200: Tyler Moore, Sr., Nature Coast; 110 hurdles: Darin Patmon, Sr., Land O’Lakes; 300 hurdles: Darin Patmon, Sr., Land O’Lakes; High jump: Thomas Rodriguez, Sr., Ridgewood; Pole vault: Ian McKenzie, Sr., Land O’Lakes; Long jump: Kyrie Rodriguez, Sr., Fivay; Triple jump: Jesse Zellers, Jr., Mitchell; Shot put: Darren Hambrick, Jr., Hernando; Discus: Conner Foradas, So., Hernando; 4x100 relay: Pasco (Nathaniel Avalos, Dominick Graham, Janarion Grant, Demarius Wilson); 4x400 relay: Pasco (Carson Brock, Richard Perez, Andrew Riddaugh, Austin Riddaugh); 4x800 relay: Wiregrass Ranch (Tyler Mattera, Ermias Bireda, Patrick Hill, Thor Alastre)
Bishop McLaughlin: Evan Barhonovich; Fivay: James Bullock; Hernando: Quentin Adams, Cleve Pope, Terrance Owens; Land O’Lakes: Henry Parrish, Kyle McKee; Nature Coast: Cody Van Natter, Ryan Pelaez; Ridgewood: Nick Buliga; Springstead: Bobby Harris; Weeki Wachee: Steven James; Wiregrass Ranch: Elijah Boston, Jamel Nunez, Sam Hippely; Zephyrhills: Jordan Roberts
Coach of the Year: Bill Schmitz, Land O’Lakes
In his first season leading the program, Schmitz led the Gators back to the Sunshine Athletic Conference title. The team won its first five meets of the season before qualifying three athletes for the Class 3A state meet.
Athlete of the year: Courtney Prengaman, Jr., Wesley Chapel
Why we picked her: The leap in progress the junior made in her third season was significant after struggling through injuries last season. She added almost a half foot to her high jump results, the only event she competes in. In her first appearance at state since her freshman year, Prengaman netted gold.
Most impressive accomplishment: With her 5-foot, 6-inch leap to take first place in Class 2A, she earned redemption. In her freshman season, a runnerup finish at regionals gave her momentum heading into state. But she failed on every attempt and has never forgotten that day. As a sophomore, Prengaman finished sixth at regionals while coping with growth-plate issues that caused major pain in her hips. Rest and recovery time allowed her to return this season pain-free. After hovering around 5 feet for two years and recording a personal best of 5-2 as a freshman in the SAC Championships, Prengaman turned in a PR of 5-7 at regionals this season.
Future plans: Prengaman plans to continue competing next season with the hopes of participating in college, too. She’s considering a career as an elementary school special education teacher.
Did you know? Prengaman is 6 feet 2, and ever since her arrival at Wesley Chapel, coaches have projected her success. According to ESPN RISE, she is the 74th-best high jumper in the country and eighth in the state.
100, Ravin Gilbert, Sr., Wesley Chapel: A fifth-place finish (12.18 seconds) at state was accompanied by good performances in the 200 and 400 as well.
200, Wilena Little, So., Springstead: Improved on her 14th-place finish at state as a freshman to earn ninth this season (25.49). She had her PR (25.20) in the prelims.
400, Hallie Grimes, So., Land O’Lakes: Followed a fifth-place finish as a freshman with sixth at state (56.93) this time around. Her PR (56.87) came in the prelims.
800, Erin Blackwell, Fr., Springstead: With a time of 2:22.60, made an immediate impact at state with an 11th-place finish.
1,600, Kari Grippo, So., Gulf: Added to her superb exploits in cross country by placing ninth at state (5:23.29). She set a PR and a school record with 5:20 to become region champ.
3,200, Nikita Shah, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: The distance ace added to her trophy case with a bronze medal at state (10:49.62). She had previously finished 10th and ninth at state.
100 hurdles, Bronte Cameron, Fr., Nature Coast: Burst onto the scene with third place at regionals (16.91), then was 14th at state (17.62).
300 hurdles, Ashley Rodriguez, Sr., Ridgewood: District champ got her personal best (49.09) before advancing to state and coming in 15th.
High jump, Sarah Olin, Jr., River Ridge: Lone jumper to routinely surpass 5 feet other than Prengaman, jumping for a PR of 5-4 twice during the season — at the SAC Championships and Fivay Quad Meet.
Pole vault, Alisha Henry, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: A sixth-place finish at state (10-6) topped off a great season for Henry. She won the USF/George Steinbrenner Invitational with a PR of 11-3.
Long jump, Hannah Eder, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: District champ cleared 17 feet to win the title and achieve her personal best.
Triple jump, Santiya Stewart, Sr., Pasco: After twice qualifying for regionals, Stewart finally got to state and was the top local finisher, placing 13th.
Shot put, Eunique Byrd, So., Pasco: After narrowly qualifying for regionals and state with fourth-places finishes, the Pirate tossed the shot 33-10.5 to finish 13th at state.
Discus, Courtney Liddle, Sr., Nature Coast: The volleyball star became a key cog for the Sharks; a toss of 83-10 placed her 15th at state.
4x100 relay, Nature Coast (Briana Baugher, Alicia Gentz, Ashley Chevalier, Aysha McCants): Narrowly beat Pasco to finish 12th in Class 2A at state (51.28)
4x400 relay, Springstead (Ty’Rhonza Harris, Kailey Genrich, Erin Blackwell, Wilena Little): Best region finish of area teams, placing fifth in 4:12.04.
4x800 relay, Gulf (Kari Grippo, Katie Buckman, Mia Savino, Renee Patnode): Placed sixth at state by running a 9:49.42.
100: Kara Young, So., Zephyrhills; 200: Ravin Gilbert, Sr., Wesley Chapel; 400: Ravin Gilbert, Sr., Wesley Chapel; 800: Mia Savino, So., Gulf; 1,600: Nikita Shah, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch; 3,200: Claudia Cancello, Jr., Mitchell; 100 hurdles: Danielle Williams, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch; 300 hurdles: Bronte Cameron, Fr., Nature Coast; High jump: Desiree Nathe, So., Pasco; Pole vault: Abby Hudak, Jr., Wesley Chapel; Long jump: Ashley Dugan, So., Hudson; Triple jump: Amy Holmes, Sr., Nature Coast; Shot put: Taylor McDonald, So., Bishop McLaughlin; Discus: Patricia Magwood, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch; 4x100 relay: Pasco (Desiree Nathe, Santiya Stewart, Brianca Roberts, Jade Roberts); 4x400 relay: Pasco (Ashton Brock, Raven Johnson, Desiree Nathe, Mallory Parham); 4x800 relay: Mitchell (Claudia Cancello, Elaina Cancello, Emily Kerns, Baylor Cherry)
Academy at the Lakes: Andrea Mauger; Bishop McLaughlin: Camille Baumrucker, Rachel Verscharen; Hernando: Ebone Plummer; Mitchell: Alani Alexander, Elaina Cancello, Emily Kerns; Nature Coast: Crystal Burchardt, MacKenzie Medler, Mercedes Williams; Pasco: Savanna Martison; River Ridge: Baylee Lewandowski; Wiregrass Ranch: Marissa Ginn-Davis; Zephyrhills: Scarlett Lawhorne
Coach of the Year: Ed LaRose, Nature Coast
LaRose built upon the depth of the Sharks’ roster to lead the team to its first district title in school history. Nature Coast followed that performance with a great showing at regionals with its youth rising to the occasion. Though they didn’t score at state, the Sharks finished highest out of area teams at regionals (fifth with 44 points).