Girls player of the year
G Jerica Coley, Sr., St. Petersburg Cath.
No area player was more valuable to her squad. During a sensational senior season, the 5-foot-6 Florida International recruit averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 steals, 4.6 assists and 3.0 blocks a game. An unselfish player, Coley distributed the ball well and made those around her better. When the team needed a basket, she almost always came through....
If someone had told Mike McNeely in December that more than a month after national signing day he would still be without a scholarship offer, the Palm Harbor University senior WR would have thought they were crazy.
On the field in 2009, he caught 33 passes for 442 yards.
Off of it, he did everything he could to get programs interested from sending out video to creating a profile on Gobigrecruiting.com, a site that boasts it is the "new way to submit your game film to college coaches."...
TRINITY — Ask Mitchell's Jeff Leavey, a track and field coach for four decades, what trait Mustangs runner Kelli Williams shares with the best athletes he has worked with and he is quick to respond.
"When they finish their workouts, they'll all come to you and say, 'What can I do to improve?' " Leavey said. "That's what she does. Every day after practice, every time it's, 'How do I get better.'...
Gators signee Patric Young dominates paint against Tampa Prep in Class 2A boys basketball state final03/06/10Preps
LAKELAND — A screen was set, a move was made and a pass found its way into Patric Young's hands.
While catching the ball, Young turned his body, then threw down a thunderous reverse jam that easily was the most memorable play in Jacksonville Providence's 63-46 win over Tampa Prep in the Class 2A state boys basketball final Saturday at the Lakeland Center.
The irony is that Young's best work was done on the other end....
Dave Pisarcik realizes he is a bit biased, but the Nature Coast boys basketball coach is firm in his belief that Sharks C Tyler Bergantino is the most talented player around.
And, the coach boasted, it's not even close.
"By far, he's the best in the bay area," Pisarcik said.
If you reside in Hillsborough or Pasco counties, right about now you're probably wondering, who is Tyler Bergantino?...
NEW PORT RICHEY — With temperatures in the low 50s and swirling winds making it feel even colder at Friday's Chasco Invitational, Mitchell sprinter Ricky Trinidad found the perfect way to stay warm.
"I went to my car," Trinidad said.
After winning the 100-meter dash, Trinidad spent roughly 90 minutes inside his Volkswagen Jetta with the heat on high. When he returned to the track, he promptly won the 200....
Every now and then, someone asks St. Petersburg guard Gabriel Moton if he is related to the former Florida Gators basketball standout with the similar last name.
The answer, Moton said, is "No."
Despite that, a writer who apparently didn't notice the names aren't even spelled the same, reported last year that Andrew Moten, a Gator in the mid 1980s, was his father.
"That was funny," Moton said....
LAKELAND — Boca Ciega coach Will White did his best to comfort his heartbroken squad in the locker room following the Pirates' 53-44 loss to Fort Lauderdale Dillard on Thursday night in the Class 5A girls basketball final.
He told them how proud he was.
He reminded them that because of their efforts Boca Ciega had become one of the state's "elite" programs.
He even pointed to the future, which appears to be very bright....
LAKELAND — Teams that face Boca Ciega never seem to play their best, or even close to it, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by Pirates coach Will White.
Neither have the excuses that often seem to follow.
"We get a lot of, 'We didn't shoot the ball well,' or 'We didn't play our best game,' " White said. "I'd like to think we had something to do with that."
In Wednesday's Class 5A state semifinal at the Lakeland Center, another Boca Ciega opponent, Pensacola Pine Forest, looked overmatched. But after the Pirates' convincing 58-33 win, the Eagles — whose previous four defeats were by a combined 19 points — had no problem giving their opponent credit....
CLEARWATER — His team was uncharacteristically sloppy, its offensive execution subpar and foul shooting dreadful, but as Clearwater coach Allen Carden headed to the locker room at the half Tuesday with the Tornadoes trailing Gibbs by a point, he remained confident.
"I told them, 'Don't panic, we're going to go on a run,' " Carden said.
That run came, but not until the final quarter, when Clearwater used a 12-1 spurt, keyed by two Cory Carden 3-pointers, to defeat the Gladiators 63-46 in the Class 5A region semis....
As a former Olympic sprinter Jason Rouser is somewhat of an authority in his sport, so when the Zephyrhills track and field coach calls Jamieshia Parker a "special" athlete, one can't help but take notice.
"She's an exceptional talent," Rouser said.
A Bulldogs junior, Parker already owns Zephyrhills individual records of 18 feet, 91/2 inches in the long jump, 12.01 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 25.42 seconds in the 200. Additionally, she was part of a record-breaking 4x100 relay....
As good as Nature Coast sprinter Antwan Story was last year, we might not have yet seen his best.
"His focus has improved 100 percent," Sharks coach Ryan Wilson said.
That, quite frankly, is a scary proposition.
A season ago as a junior, Story unquestionably was the area's top sprinter. In the 100-meter dash, he took fourth at the Class 2A state meet (11.03 seconds). In the 200, he placed eighth (23.96)....
It seems fitting that Josh Burch will attend the Naval Academy, because when the Admiral Farragut long jumper talks about his senior season it is clear he is on a mission.
"I want to go out on top," he said.
For Burch, who will compete for the football and track squads in college, that means winning a state title, and there is little doubt he can achieve his goal.
He has, after all, done it before....
Lindsey Cooper is known to many as the younger sister of Florida Gators receiver Riley Cooper. But in track circles she has created her own identity.
That identity has come with success.
A junior sprinter at Clearwater Central Catholic, Cooper placed sixth at last season's Class 2A state meet in the 400-meter dash, and she believes she is only starting to reach her potential.
"I want to win (state)," Cooper said....
Auston Chen has claimed two state AAU and U.S. Track & Field decathlon championships, medaled at state and signed with national power Arkansas, but he isn't satisfied.
The Berkeley Prep senior star is hungry for more. He wants a state title on his resume.
"I was close last year," Chen said.
Indeed, he was.
At the 2009 Class 2A state meet, Chen's discus throw of 171 feet, a personal best, was good enough to claim bronze....