Despite gusty winds and heavy rains at last week's class 4A state track and field meet in Jacksonville, several North of Tampa-area athletes managed outstanding performances.
Freedom High School's Faith Woodard and Alonso High's Quatasia Fantroy managed to shake off the elements and bring home state championships. Woodard won her second straight state high jump championship with a leap of 5-feet-6. Fantroy won the triple jump with a leap of 38 feet, 9.75 inches.
Other area athletes came close in the finals. Woodard's teammate, Sandra Akachukwu, placed second in the long jump, while in the 300 hurdles Wharton's Mikayla Barber placed third and Tyler Watson placed fourth.
On the boys side, Alonso's William Taylor-Haynes ran to a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles.
Patriots make their way to state softball finals
Freedom's improbable region softball run was extended last week when Caroline Whiteside managed two huge bases-loaded plays. In the region final, Whiteside smacked a grand slam in the seventh inning to lift the Patriots, who are making their first playoff appearance in school history, to a 5-1 win against Sarasota and a spot in the state final four.
That win came days after Freedom outlasted rival Chamberlain 4-2 in a semifinal contest that took place over three days due to rain delays. In that game, Whiteside managed a bases-loaded walk to score what would be the eventual winning run.
Katlin Hall hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Rachel Carlson and Ashley Wilson had back-to-back doubles to create another run in the sixth for the Patriots.
Steinbrenner leads the way in region baseball openers
Steinbrenner's outstanding season continued with a historic region win last week. The Warriors topped Seminole 6-1 for the four-year-old program's first-ever region victory.
Pitcher Logan LaPace (7-2) threw a four-hitter while striking out five and walking one. Jesse Haney provided the pop at the plate, hitting an RBI double and a two-run home run.
Meanwhile, Berkeley Prep extended its season with a 7-6, 10-inning walk-off win against DeSoto County in Class 4A play and Cambridge Christian won its 2A region opener 13-3 against Lakeland Victory Christian as Levi Gilcrease belted two home runs.
Two other North of Tampa-area squads suffered close losses as Wharton fell 1-0 to East Lake in 10 innings in Class 8A and Leto lost to Seminole Osceola 2-1 in Class 6A.
Signings and honors
Two more members of Freedom's Class 7A region-championship girls basketball team have announced college plans. Forward Ashle Thompson will play for Division 2 Florida Tech in Melbourne, while guard Whitney Ivey will play for Johnson & Wales University in Miami.
Other Patriots' players to announce include Neena Pacholke, who will be a preferred walk-on at USF, and 7A All-State player Faith Woodard, who has signed with Georgetown.
Carrollwood Day School baseball player Dominiq Sicardo has signed with Pasco-Hernando Community College. An infielder who also filled in at catcher, Sicardo hit .313 as a senior for CDS. Sicardo's signing marks the first college scholarship for the CDS baseball program.