Bloomingdale goalkeeper Chad Bridges has, quite literally, saved the Bulls thus far in their run toward the state Class 4A soccer championship. Bridges, a senior, made 18 saves while earning his 16th and 17th shutouts of the year as Bloomingdale advanced to the state semifinals with two 1-0 wins.
In the Bulls' win over Gaither in the Region III championship on Tuesday, Bridges had 9 saves and repeated that performance when Bloomingdale defeated Sarasota for the Section II championship Friday night. It was only the second time all season that Sarasota was shut out.
Bridges' work in goal is recognized as the Times' Performance of the Week in Hillsborough County.
Elaine Williams, Tampa Catholic basketball: Williams reached the 1,000 point mark as she scored 12 points in the Crusaders' 52-50 loss to Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the semifinals of the Class 2A, District 11 tournament Friday night. Her brother, John Williams, the boys junior varsity basketball coach at Berkeley Prep, also passed the 1,000 mark during his playing days at Jesuit with 1,273 points. This possibly is the first time in Hillsborough County that a brother-sister tandem has surpassed the 1,000 mark.
Class 3A and 4A regional wresting champions: Eight Hillsborough County wrestlers won Regional championships on Saturday. Winning 4A, Region II titles were: Leto's Eric Graffeo (103 pounds), Brandon's Kenny Urguhart (130), Mark Valdiviez of Chamberlain (135), East Bay's Paul Noble (152), Kevin Williams of Bloomingdale (160) and Steve Guyton of Brandon (189). Class 3A, Region II titles were won Malawi Hills of Tampa Bay Vo-Tech (189) and Jesuit's Matt Rametta (220).
Jenni Boggs and Carlyn Esslinger, Gaither basketball: Boggs and Esslinger combined to help Gaither win the Class 4A, District 6 title Saturday night. Boggs scored 16 and Esslinger 21 in Gaither's 45-42 win over Chamberlain in the semifinals Friday night. In the finals, a 44-43 win over Hillsborough, they each added 11 points.
Jesse Salters, Chamberlain basketball: Salters set a new career scoring mark with 42 points in the Chiefs' 86-60 romp over Jefferson Thursday night. Earlier in the week, Salters hit 39 points in a 89-76 victory over Brandon.
Merrill Mullis, Berkeley Prep basketball: Mullis scored 29 points in a 55-42 victory over Lakeland-Santa Fe in the quarterfinals of the Class A, District 9 tournament, then came back to score 34 in a 58-57 loss to Tampa Prep in the semifinals.
To nominate players for the Performance of the Week honor, call the Times' Hillsborough sports department (264-3346) on Mondays between 9 a.m. and noon.