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John C. Cotey, Times Correspondent

John C. Cotey

John Cotey is a Cheesehead, born in Milwaukee and a graduate of Marquette University High School. He fled Wisconsin for a long career as a college student at the University of South Florida. At USF, he walked into the school paper one day to apply for a job as political cartoonist, and he walked out with a sports assignment. He joined the Times in 1991 (after eight months at the Winter Haven News Chief). He is married, with two daughters and two sons. In his free time he likes drooling over Apple products he can't afford, listening to Prince and trying to keep his lawn from turning brown (again).

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  1. HomeTeam Huddle: Running of the Bulls at Wiregrass Ranch?

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL

    Last year, Wiregrass Ranch's leading rusher was a quarterback, Shane Bucenell (334 yards). • According to MaxPreps, Wiregrass has never had a 1,000-yard rusher, coming closest when Josh Johnson ran for 913 in 2009. • And as a team, the Bulls have never averaged 150 yards a game, and ran for only 825 last year. • Mark Kantor knows to be successful at Wiregrass Ranch, he needs to change all of that....

    New Wiregrass Ranch coach Mark Kantor is putting emphasis on running well.
  2. HomeTeam Huddle: Tampa Bay Tech revisits the past

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA

    Deon Cain was tossing passes around at Tampa Bay Tech's practice recently, but the fact that he did so in jeans and a polo short with ear buds in and holding a cell phone in his left hand drove home this sobering fact for Titans coach Jayson Roberts: Cain will be playing for Clemson, not TBT, this fall. • Last year, Cain rushed for 1,892 of TBT's 2,811 yards, scored 19 of their 27 rushing touchdowns, and threw for more than 1,000 yards. The last half of the season he carried the Titans, who finished 8-5, right into the playoffs and all the way to the region finals. • "How do you replace Deon Cain? You don't," Roberts said. "You do something else."...

    Tampa Bay Tech’s Trent Wyatt, a junior-to-be, takes over under center full time.
  3. Region softball: Academy at the Lakes routs Hernando Christian

    Softballpreps

    TAMPA — Coaches like to say that beating a team three times in one season is no easy task.

    Sometimes, though, it is.

    Academy at the Lakes won its Class 2A region playoff opener Thursday afternoon at New Tampa Community Park, crushing Hernando Christian 15-0 in a game stopped by the mercy rule after three innings.

    The Wildcats (13-3) beat Hernando Christian all three times they played by a 52-0 margin....

  4. Region softball roundup: River Ridge survives a wild one

    Softballpreps

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Nature Coast rapped out of a season-high 18 hits against River Ridge on Wednesday night.

    The Sharks, though, needed one more.

    Despite struggling without her best stuff, River Ridge pitcher Anessa Holes put herself in a jam in the seventh inning, then worked her way out of it, leaving the bases loaded in a harrowing 11-9 victory in a Class 5A region quarterfinal....

  5. District baseball: Tampa Catholic blanks Sarasota Booker

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — Tampa Catholic's record won't blow you away, but coach Ty Griffin says you may end up being surprised.

    The Crusaders mixed some timely hitting with a sterling pitching performance from junior Roland Chacon to advance to the Class 4A-10 district championship with a 5-0 win over Sarasota Booker on Tuesday night.

    Tampa Catholic is now 14-11-1 after a couple of RBI singles by Jordan Santos and a 90-pitch five-hit shutout from Chacon, and will meet Berkeley Prep on Thursday for the championship....

  6. State tennis: Shorecrest's Litsky adds to title haul

    Tennis Preps

    CASSELBERRY — Shorecrest's Peter Litsky was ready for a long match.

    His opponent wasn't. They rarely are.

    Playing with precision and near perfection, Litsky capped an impressive season with the Class A overall singles championship, beating Pensacola Catholic's Christopher Ephron 6-3, 6-1 Wednesday morning at Red Bug Park.

    Litsky won four matches this week, including three in the individual tournament bracket against other district champions at No. 1 singles whose teams did not advance. He won each of those in straight sets....

    Shorecrest’s Peter Litsky shows off his medal, winning the overall Class A title.
  7. State tennis: Academy at the Lakes duo nets first title

    Tennis Preps

    CASSELBERRY — Anna Waller will be attending Steinbrenner next year, and Daniella Moreno is graduating. But before they departed Academy at the Lakes, they wanted to leave the school with a little something.

    Its first state championship.

    Mixing outstanding net play with a strong baseline and service game, the Waller-Moreno tandem won the Class A overall doubles championship by topping American Heritage 6-3, 6-1 Wednesday morning at Red Bug Park....

    AATL’s Anna Waller, left, and Daniella Moreno show off their state hardware.
  8. State tennis: Shorecrest's Litsky breaks through for title

    Tennis Preps

    CASSELBERRY — Since losing in last year's district final to a player had beaten twice in the regular season, Shorecrest junior Peter Litsky has thought a lot about where he will be Wednesday morning:

    Playing for the Class A overall singles championship.

    The Charger cruised through the singles competition and capture the individual singles championship for No. 1 players whose teams did not make it to state, beating Miami's Richard Torres 6-2, 6-4 Tuesday at Red Bug Park....

    Shorecrest’s Peter Litsky took the individual singles championship in Class A.
  9. State tennis: Wiregrass Ranch repeats, Armwood's Hall wins

    Tennis Preps

    ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Last year, the Wiregrass Ranch boys tennis team scraped and scrapped for every point, squeezing everything it could from the hard courts at Sanlando Park to tie for the state championship.

    Tuesday, the Bulls made a little time for relaxing.

    Whipping through the singles competition and capturing four championships, the Bulls delivered an emphatic finish to the Class 3A competition, clinching a state championship before it was even done with all of its singles matches and rendering the doubles competition moot....

    Agie Moreno’s singles win secured Wiregrass Ranch’s second straight state title.
  10. State tennis roundup: Wiregrass Ranch boys lead 3A; several singles players in finals

    Tennis Preps

    ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — It was a big day for Tampa Bay tennis players at the state championships Monday, as the Wiregrass Ranch boys put themselves in ideal position to win a second straight title, Carrollwood Day's Jacque Fitz-Randolph looked to end her career with a singles title and Armwood's Justin Hall, Clearwater Central Catholic's Jacque Lazaro and Shorecrest's Peter Litsky put themselves in line for individual titles....

  11. State tennis preview: Reshuffled Wiregrass Ranch lineup looks to repeat

    Tennis Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — After his most stressful week as boys tennis coach, Wiregrass Ranch's Dave Wilson is looking forward to the state tournament despite the pressure that may come with it.

    The Bulls, who tied Naples Barron Collier last season for the Class 3A state championship, will be trying to become a rare public school repeat champion from Tampa Bay.

    Only Wharton (2008-10) and Lakewood (1973-75) have won consecutive boys team titles....

    Agie Moreno of Wiregrass Ranch returns to the team for the state tournament after missing the last round while playing in a junior event in California.
  12. Region tennis roundup: Short-handed Wiregrass Ranch prevails

    Tennis Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — With its two best players more than 2,200 miles away, defending state champion Wiregrass Ranch went into its region semifinal against Venice on Tuesday with no margin for error.

    "We knew coming in we had to win No. 2, 3 and 4 singles and No. 2 doubles," Bulls coach Dave Wilson said. "That was the way to victory."

    And that was exactly what happened.

    Alejandro Feliciano, who usually plays at No. 4, moved up to No. 2 and won 6-2, 6-2, keying a 4-3 victory for the Bulls....

    Wiregrass Ranch’s Alejandro Feliciano moves up to No. 2 singles to notch an important victory.
  13. District tennis: Hudson boys on top, rest of 2A-8 up in air

    Tennis Preps

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two days wasn't enough to settle very much at the at Class 2A, District 8 tennis championships at River Ridge.

    Hudson captured the boys championship with 14 points behind singles titles from Kevin Waitkevich (No. 2) and Mitchell Ingersoll (No. 5). But the runnerup spot will be settled today in a playoff between Fivay and Tarpon Springs, which tied with 11 points.

    The girls championship will also be decided today, as defending champion Fivay and Tarpon Springs tied with 17 points....

  14. District tennis roundup: Steinbrenner boys nab first title

    Tennis Preps

    TAMPA — Steinbrenner's John Pfingsten hasn't been around long enough to know the history of the Class 4A, District 7 championships held at Hunter's Green, but he changed it with a finishing overhand smash.

    The Warrior freshman delivered the final point of the tournament right down the middle Tuesday afternoon, putting an exclamation mark on a sweep of the doubles matches and a first district championship for the Steinbrenner boys....

  15. Baseball: Strawberry Crest returns to semifinals

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — The early quarterfinal games at the 35th annual Saladino Tournament featured a pair of pitchers who started games at the state final four last season.

    But the star of the afternoon at Brandon turned out to be a pitcher who didn't even get out of the first inning in his last start.

    Brandon Harris took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Bloomingdale and finished with a one-hit shutout as Strawberry Crest rode his right arm to a 2-0 victory and a spot in the tournament semifinals for the second straight year....

    Back on the mound: Jesuit starter Michael Sandborn (24) returned from rest to pitch three scoreless innings against Riverview.