Saturday, December 16, 2017
Sports

Lakewood, Tarpon Springs get grants to improve athletic facilities

For years, Lakewood's athletic facilities have been inadequate.

The ceiling in the gymnasium is so low that volleyballs often hit tiles during games, exposing air ducts and vents because the tiles are not replaced.

The gym's seating capacity is so small that rivalry and playoff basketball games are usually moved to Eckerd College to accommodate crowds. The track on the football field is asphalt and has only six lanes, not the eight needed for postseason meets.

The facilities are not a fit for an athletic program that ranks as one of the best in the bay area. The girls basketball team won a state title in 2011, the boys track team won in 2013, the football team made the final four last fall, and boys basketball reached the state final last month.

"It's a joke," Lakewood girls basketball coach and athletic coordinator Necole Tunsil said.

The school received some monetary relief — $12,000 — this week as part of the Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program. Tunsil said the money will be used to replace the two wooden backboards and rims on the side of the gymnasium with glass boards, as well as buy an athletic training table, hydrating stations and less bulky weightlifting equipment (such as medicine balls and dumbbells).

Tarpon Springs also got $15,000 through the same grant program and will use the funds primarily to upgrade the weight room, football coach Ron Hawn said.

"For us, it is a start, but it is not enough," Tunsil said. "I look around and every high school in the St. Petersburg area has had their gymnasium done in the past 10 years except us. And really, all our facilities are in need of upgrades. Because we're the closest school to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, does the county think we've just been annexed by Manatee County? It sure seems like we've been ignored."

Pinellas County athletic coordinator Nick Grasso said in an email that he was unaware of any timetable for the county to improve Lakewood's gym.

Tunsil said she is trying to work with former Spartan standout and current Tampa Bay Buc Louis Murphy on getting community support for additional funding for improvements.

"There's still work to do," Tunsil said. "We've made do. Look at how much success we've had in just about every sport here. We'd just like our facilities to reflect that."

Comments
Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

With veteran wing Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks with an upper body injury, the natural question is who will fill his shoes?"I don't know if anyone can," coach Jon Cooper said.That's not to say the Lightning (26-6-2) can't win without Callahan....
Updated: 4 hours ago
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Boys basketball: Lakewood 46, Gibbs 44

ST. PETERSBURG — Once the lights dimmed in the gymnasium and the capacity crowd dispersed, Lakewood coach Anthony Lawrence spotted Gibbs coach Larry Murphy strolling past the the bleachers."Hey, Murph. Do we have to do this every time?" Lawrenc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Kitija Laksa’s 11 consecutive treys an NCAA record

Kitija Laksa’s 11 consecutive treys an NCAA record

Turns out, USF junior Kitija Laksa wasn't merely unconscious from behind the 3-point line Friday night, she was unprecedented.Laksa's 11 consecutive 3-pointers in the Bulls' 108-48 home romp of Southern University broke the NCAA's single-game record ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
College Football Bowls: Tampa Bay Times staff picks for Week 1

College Football Bowls: Tampa Bay Times staff picks for Week 1

College football bowl season gets underway Saturday with six games. Here's the Tampa Bay Times college football coverage team's picks for those and five other games the first week of bowl season. GameMartin Fennelly @mjfennellyTraci Johnson @TBH...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch had won nine straight heading into Friday’s game against Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental lea...
Updated: 6 hours ago