Morgan Brown Calvary Chr.
A defending state champion in the pole vault, Brown already had put a lot of ground between herself and what passes for her competition. So it was expected the junior would have no problem winning again at last week's Class A state meet.
In one of the most anticlimactic events, Brown did just that, clearing 3.4 meters (11 feet, 2.25 inches).
Brown joins Tampa Catholic's Nicole Carroll (2013-14), Wharton's London Enos (2009-10), Gaither's Dara Altman (2001-02) and Bloomingdale's Chelo Canino (1999-2000) as the area's only two-time champions in the pole vault. And Brown still has another year to go.
The goal this past weekend was to secure her second state title as quickly as possible. Brown did it in her first three attempts. That helped because she also had to run the preliminaries of the 4x100 relay in between her vaults, something she did not expect in the days leading up to state.
Tired from pulling double duty, Brown did not have the energy to clear 11-6, which would have set a personal record. Instead, she settled for 11-2.25, more than a foot higher than her next competitor.
Now Brown hopes to raise the bar. She wants to clear 12 feet and will have plenty of attempts to do so with several big meets this summer.
Seth Caballes East Lake
Caballes has been on East Lake's varsity baseball team since his freshman year. In the first three seasons he had his share of disappointment in the district tournament. As a freshman, the Eagles lost in the final. Same with his junior year. As a sophomore, East Lake didn't even make regionals.
This time around, Caballes had a chance to change history. In the bottom of the ninth inning in the Class 8A, District 7 final against St. Petersburg on Friday night, he came to bat with a runner on second and two outs. He got a hit to leftfield that scored the winning run for a 3-2 win.
"That's the first time I've ever been on a district championship team," Caballes said. "It's nice to be able to play (regionals) at home. We're undefeated at home this year."
After playing a little at second base as a freshman, Caballes became a full-time catcher as a sophomore. Since then he has handled some of the hardest throwing pitchers in Pinellas, including Brad Deppermann, Travis MacGregor, Christian James and Connor Churchill.
"You don't have much time to think when those guys are pitching," he said. "You just react."
He has always been steady defensively, and this season he has picked up the offense. He is hitting .333 with 15 RBIs.
"I think I'm seeing the ball better this season," he said. "I've been focused on putting the ball in play hard. I used to be more nit-picky."
Caballes is most valuable as a steady catcher. He has a strong enough arm to throw runners out, and he knows the pitchers well enough to make them feel comfortable.
"I love catching," he said. "As a catcher you are in on every pitch. At second base, you get maybe three groundballs per game. At catcher you are in charge."