Boys Athlete of the Year: Bobby Harris, Jr., Springstead
Why we picked him: Harris was the North Suncoast’s only state champion. His performance at the Class 3A state meet wasn’t legendary — he cleared only 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump — but the 2012 runnerup was battling extraordinarily tough conditions. “Rain was coming down sideways,” Harris said. “All I could think was, ‘I gotta get over the bar. Don’t worry about anything else.’ ” Harris became only the second boy in school history to win a state track title.
Most impressive accomplishment: He starred at his event all season, winning district and county titles and taking first in a loaded field at USF. His top performance — 6 feet, 9 inches — came at the Central Invitational. That result is only one inch shy of the best result in the state this year and one of the top-15 best performances in the country.
Future plans: Harris has one year of high school remaining and intends to continue track collegiately, if the right opportunity arises. “Education is more important to me,” Harris said. He plans to use his math and science prowess to become a pharmacist.
Did you know? Harris was only an average high jumper when his dad — a former high jumper himself — encouraged him to pick up the sport in middle school. “I’m glad he did it now,” Harris said. Harris credits basketball for his leaping ability. He was one of the top contributors for the Eagles this past winter and, not surprisingly, led them in rebounds (5.4 per game).
100, Jordan Roberts, Jr., Zephyrhills: Clocked the North Suncoast’s top time of the season (10.84 seconds) for a fifth-place finish at the Class 3A region meet.
200, Jordan Roberts, Jr., Zephyrhills: Won the Class 3A, District 6 title with the fastest time of the spring: 22.20 seconds.
400, Michael Tancreti, Sr., Mitchell: Conference and district champion ran a personal-best 50.09 seconds in prelims at regionals.
800, Richard Toth, Sr., Springstead: District champ finished runnerup at state with a personal-record 1:57.13.
1600, Spencer Guerette, Sr., Anclote: Won conference titles in the 800 and 1600, and took third at state in the mile (4:22.42).
3200, Tyler Stahl, Jr., Land O’Lakes: State qualifier had the North Suncoast’s best run of the year (9:55.32) to win the conference title.
110 hurdles, Quadavis Battle, Sr. Central: Set a PR (14.88) at regionals. Finished 13th at 3A state meet.
300 hurdles, Quadavis Battle, Sr., Central: Region runnerup (39.91) was one of only three North Suncoast athletes to qualify for state in two individual events.
High jump, Kyle Forchion, Sr., Land O’Lakes: District runnerup soared 6-6 at regionals to tie for second with Harris.
Pole vault, Evan Bales, Sr., River Ridge: District champion battled for second-place finishes at regionals and state. His best attempt was 15-0 at SAC meet.
Long jump, Janarion Grant, Sr., Pasco: Rutgers football signee didn’t win his third straight state title but finished second (23-2.5).
Triple jump, Abrahm Paulding, Sr., Springstead: Had his best result at 3A regional, leaping an area-best 43-4.5.
Shot put, Ethan Kemp, Sr., Springstead: Made it to state after a 48-3.5 performance in 3A regional.
Discus, Elijah Boston, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Region runnerup (154-5) came up with an eighth-place performance at 3A state meet.
4x100 relay, Nature Coast (Deshawn Smith, Frank Villaizan, Jacquez Kincade, Matt Breida): District and region champs took sixth at state (42.37 seconds)
4x400 relay, Springstead (Bernard Ndedi, James Amodie, Zackary Romblad, Richard Toth): County champs sped to a 3:28.76 finish at regionals.
4x800 relay, Springstead (Jai Jackson, James Amodie, Zackary Romblad, Richard Toth): Best time came at regionals (8:09.71) before 12th-place finish at state.
100: Eddie Burgos, Sr., Sunlake; 200: Frank Villaizan, Sr., Nature Coast; 400: Max Livingstone, Sr., Ridgewood; 800: Spencer Guerette, Sr., Anclote; 1600: Tyler Stahl, Jr., Land O’Lakes; 3200: Nick Buliga, Sr., Gulf; 110 hurdles: Jamaree Ried, Jr., Anclote; 300 hurdles: Jamaree Ried, Jr., Anclote; high jump: Andrew Janus, Jr., Anclote; pole vault: Devon Jerothe, Jr., River Ridge; long jump: Abrahm Paulding, Sr., Springstead; triple jump: Frank Sampson, Sr., Nature Coast; shot put: RJ Scaife, Jr., Pasco; discus: Travis Manecke, Sr., Sunlake; 4x100: Pasco (Demarius Wilson, Janarion Grant, J’Quan Roberts, Dominick Graham); 4x400: Nature Coast (Ryan Pelaez, Deshawn Smith, Jacquez Kincade, Wyatt Hessler); 4x800: Nature Coast (Kevin Ciccone, James Harkless, Cody Van Natter, Wyatt Hessler)
Academy at the Lakes: Abaz Igwe; Anclote: Jonte Scott; Central: Andre Gallo-Crespo; Fivay: Kenny Walker; Gulf: Wesley Best; Hernando: Troy Grant Hambrick, Connor Foradas; Land O’Lakes: Stephan Zapata, Colin Defant, Ethan Weilant, Jamel Clark, Jake Poore; Mitchell: Troy Shea; Nature Coast: Stephen Murphy; Pasco: Nicholas Smith, Brent Dawson; Ridgewood: Brian Swanson, Tim Bennett; Wiregrass Ranch: Ermias Bireda, Thor Alastre, Patrick Hill, David Duckett, James Jackson, Johnathan Coyne, Khalil Phelan
Coach of the Year
Ryan Wilson, Nature Coast: His Sharks sent two relay teams and three individuals to state. NCT won the Hernando County title, the Class 2A, District 6 championship and placed sixth at regionals.
Girls Athlete of the Year: Wilena Little, Jr., Springstead
Why we picked her: Little was the North Suncoast’s top all-around athlete. She placed fourth at the 3A state meet in her signature event, the long jump, with a personal-best 18 feet, 9 inches. She added a district title in the 200 meters and a third-place showing in the 400 meters. Little also won Hernando County titles in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump.
Most impressive accomplishment: Little had a standout performance at the Class 3A, Region 2 meet. She won a region championship in the long jump, but she was more impressed with her 200-meter time. “I thought I didn’t run hard enough to make it to the finals,” Little said. “I surprised myself.” That surprise: Making it out of prelims with her first sub-25 second finish (24.90 seconds) and the North Suncoast’s quickest time this spring. She placed sixth in the finals.
Future plans: Little has one year of high school remaining. She hopes to continue track with a college scholarship. “That would be amazing,” Little said. She plans to study dentistry in college and will shadow a dentist in Tampa this summer.
Did you know? Little was always active athletically as a kid. “I tried pretty much every sport in middle school,” Little said. “Track stuck with me.” She played basketball as a sophomore, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, but stopped this season to focus on track. She did take up weightlifting this winter and topped out with a 110-pound bench press.
100, Alfreda Steele, Fr., Pasco: Standout sprinter won districts and took third at 2A state meet (11.92 seconds).
200, Alfreda Steele, Fr., Pasco: Focused on the 100 later in the year but still had one of the area’s best times (25.71 seconds) to win the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet.
400, Hallie Grimes, Jr., Land O’Lakes: Bronze medalist in 3A (57.59) and was the SAC runner of the year.
800, Emily Kerns, So., Mitchell: Conference and district champion had the fastest time of the season (2:22.33).
1600, Nikita Shah, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Harvard-bound speedster won 3A, District 6 title (5:05.31).
3200, Claudia Cancello, Sr., Mitchell: University of Tampa signee was state runnerup in 3A with a personal-best 11:16.25.
100 hurdles, Shayla Bell-Francis, So., River Ridge: Conference champ had the quickest time of the spring (16.55 seconds).
300 hurdles, Emily Gauvey, Fr., Anclote: Standout high jumper and district runnerup sprinter finished this event in an area-best 47.61 seconds.
High jump, Courtney Prengaman, Sr., Wesley Chapel: Samford signee and defending state champ settled for second this year (5-6).
Pole vault, Alisha Henry, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: District champ had her best result of the year (10-6) at the Florida Relays.
Long jump, Hannah Eder, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Placed second at districts with a personal-best 18-3.75.
Triple jump, Hannah Eder, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Two-event state qualifier finished third at regionals (36-4.5).
Shot put, Brittany O’Leary, Sr., River Ridge: Conference field event athlete of the year had her best throw in a sixth-place showing at state (38-11).
Discus, Lauren Plaugher, So., Hernando: County and district champ took third at state (116-9).
4x100 relay, Zephyrhills (Aaliyah McKenzie, JaKayla Jones, Tyrhonda Mathis, Kara Young): Finished second at regionals; clocked a season-best 48.41 seconds.
4x400 relay, Land O’Lakes (Christa Haran, Lindsey Weilant, Makenzie Fish, Hallie Grimes): District champions had their best finish of the year at regionals (4:10.94).
4x800 relay, Wiregrass Ranch (Elise Cedre, Berlin Waters, Nikita Shah, Madison Conway): Beat Mitchell by 10 seconds to earn the district title (9:40.99).
100: JaKayla Jones, Fr., Zephyrhills; 200: JaKayla Jones, Fr., Zephyrhills; 400: Baylee Lewandowski, Jr., River Ridge; 800: Erin Blackwell, So., Springstead; 1600: Claudia Cancello, Sr., Mitchell; 3200: Nikita Shah, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch; 100 hurdles: Bronte Cameron, So., Nature Coast; 300 hurdles: Savanna Martinson, Sr., Pasco; high jump: Emily Gauvey, Fr., Anclote; pole vault: Casey Chitty, So., Wiregrass Ranch; long jump: Gelisa Jenkins, Fr., Wiregrass Ranch; triple jump: Kassidy Wallace, Jr., Land O’Lakes; shot put: Ebone Plummer, Sr., Hernando; discus: Alani Alexander, So., Mitchell; 4x100: Nature Coast (Alicia Gentz, Ashley Gentz, Brianna Baugher, Ashley Chevalier); 4x400: Springstead (Ty’Rhonza Harris, Alexandra Ede, Erin Blackwell, Wilena Little); 4x800: Mitchell (Claudia Cancello, Elaina Cancello, Emily Kerns, Amy Murry)
Anclote: Moriah Sipizki; Bishop McLaughlin: Camille Baumrucker; Central: Christina Lewis; Fivay: Alli Hudson, Rachael Bradley; Gulf: Mia Savino, Eliza Gazda; Hernando: Jasha Patrick; Hudson: Ashley Dugan; Mitchell: Alina Merceron; Nature Coast: Nilsa-Marie Rodriguez, Crystal Burchhardt; Pasco: Eunique Byrd, Lanashia Pope; Ridgewood: Sandra Nelson, Samantha Williams, Alyssa Worsham, Lindsey Morris, Tayler Jenkins; Wesley Chapel: Abby Hudak; Wiregrass Ranch: Sarah Cornwell
Coach of the Year
Don Howard, Wiregrass Ranch: Conference coach of the year led the Bulls to SAC and district titles and a fourth-place showing at the Class 3A, Region 2 meet. Three girls qualified for state.