Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay HEAT's homeschooled athletes get into FHSAA competition

BRANDON — Sixteen-year-old Savannah Fredrickson slams a volleyball over a net.

"I'm not shy," her shirt reads. "I'm just quietly examining my prey."

The Valrico teen hits hard in the warmup drill, fiercely and gleefully working toward playing college volleyball.

That goal may seem closer this year because Fredrickson's team, the Brandon-based Tampa Bay HEAT, has joined the state's official interscholastic athletic organization. It's one of just four homeschool teams in the Florida High School Athletic Association, officials say.

For the Tampa Bay HEAT, an acronym that stands for the Homeschool Education and Activities Team, its new membership means more games, more competition and a higher level of play.

"It'll help us grow," Fredrickson said.

Tampa Bay HEAT, which runs the Homeschool Resource Center on S Parsons Avenue, includes about 120 families from all over Hillsborough County, said its president, Teresa Manganello. She hopes its acceptance into the FHSAA will draw more homeschoolers to the association from around the Tampa Bay area.

Joining the FHSAA opens up another option for local homeschoolers eager to get in the game.

"We had talented homeschool athletes who wanted to compete at a high level, who have aspirations to play in college," Manganello said of the organization, which she started last year to create more opportunities for her two children.

Outside the FHSAA, her homeschool group often struggled to schedule pickup games, she said, or competed in smaller leagues of Christian or private schools.

"Your games don't count," Manganello said. There's less media coverage and less exposure to college scouts, she added.

Another option outside the FHSAA: Homeschooled students can try out for club sports or local public high school teams. Last year, 85 homeschooled students played for Hillsborough County schools, said school district spokeswoman Kristin Waskiewicz. So far this year, about 65 homeschooled students have signed up to participate on public school teams.

But an all-homeschool team allows players to stay in a more familiar environment, Manganello said, with teammates they may already know through social activities.

The greatest impediment to starting the team was covering the cost of a mandated insurance policy in case of an accident, she said.

Another homeschool support group in Hillsborough County, Families Instructing Students at Home in Brandon, says it hasn't joined the FHSAA because smaller leagues suit their students better. Some, like Homeschool Around Temple Terrace, focus on younger students who aren't ready for high school-level sports.

Florida was the first state in the National Federation of State High School Associations to accept homeschool teams, according to FHSAA membership specialist Seth Polansky.

Tampa Bay HEAT will adhere to the same rules as any other new team, he said, serving a provisional two-year term while its leaders learn the association's rules.

In its first year, the Tampa Bay HEAT plans to compete in volleyball, basketball and swimming, Manganello said, with aspirations to pull together teams for sports such as soccer, golf and tennis.

The challenge now is finding facilities where the team can practice and hold games. The Tampa Bay HEAT has to rent or ask for donated space, playing in church gymnasiums without a home field advantage.

Tampa Bay HEAT also will have to maintain records of student-athletes' grade-point averages and ages, Manganello said, per the association's eligibility requirements.

In the meantime, volleyball tryouts have started. The team is running through more vigorous practices to prepare for tougher games.

The players work well together, said Valrico mom Shirley Cook, watching her two daughters at a recent tryout at First Baptist Church of Brandon. The girls tend to offer support over criticism, she said.

"Volleyball is a short season," Cook said, "but your relationships — your friendships — last forever."

Stephanie Wang can be reached at swang@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

HEAT info

For more information about the Tampa Bay HEAT, go to tampabayheat.org.

Tampa Bay HEAT's homeschooled athletes get into FHSAA competition 08/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 4:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Congressman wants Trump to pay for Mar-a-Lago travel

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON -- This bill won’t go anywhere, but give Rep. Alcee Hastings creative points with the TRUMPED Act, aka Taxpayers Require Urgent Mandatory Protection from Egregious Debt Act of 2017:

  2. U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel walk together during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump is in Belgium to attend a NATO summit and to meet EU and Belgian officials. [AP photo]
  3. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC

    Bucs

    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  4. Tampa Bay home prices still soaring amid tight supply

    Real Estate

    But despite Tampa Bay recording its most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's fabled Century Oaks estate — there were signs that the pace of price increases may be slowing just a bit for single-family homes.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor has sold for $11.18 million, the most ever paid for a home in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group]
  5. These days, don't hit the theme park without an app and a phone charger

    Florida

    Emile Crawford stocks two back-up phone battery chargers these days when she takes her kids to Disney World. But she dare not venture into a theme park without a smart phone app, an accessory becoming as necessary as sunscreen in Florida theme parks.

    A wristband visitors will wear at the new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, Florida. The wristband, called Tapu Tapu, tells you when it's your turn to get on a ride. It also lets you pay for food so you don't have to carry a wallet and opens lockers so you don't have to  carry a key. (Universal via AP)