Lecanto High School can boast of having one of the more successful athletic programs in the state, according to the Florida High School Activities Association.
Standings for the FHSAA Floyd E. Lay All-Sports Award were announced recently, and Lecanto was 11th on the list of the most successful Class 4A schools for the 1994-95 school year.
"That's excellent," Lecanto activities director Dick Slack said Friday. "I've been saying the same thing all along: that we're competitive. This bears that out."
Lecanto's standing was aided substantially by the respective state-title and runner-up finishes of the boys cross country and track teams. The two provided 95 of the Panthers' 235-point total.
Powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles was the most successful 4A school with 527.5 points.
But Lecanto closed the gap when just boys sports were compared. The Panthers rated third on that list with 195 points. Private schools Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (240) and Jacksonville Bolles (212.5) were first and second, making Lecanto the highest-rated public school in the classification.
No one from Citrus County made the top 10 of the girls list.
Lecanto's inclusion on the list, Slack said, goes a long way toward dispelling some popular misconceptions about the Lecanto athletic program.
"People look at the success or non-success of the football program and judge the whole school on that," said Slack, who recently was named the Panthers' head football coach. Lecanto's varsity football team has never had a winning season.
"Our athletes are as good, if not better, than anybody else's," Slack said. "I've maintained that all along. All we have to do is get our football program in line and we should finally start to get the respect that we deserve."
Hernando (15th, 202.5 points) and Pasco (16th, 200 points) were the only other North Suncoast schools to make the Class 4A top 20.
Points were awarded based on a school's finish in the top eight in FHSAA State Series competition against schools in its own classification. Fifty points were awarded for first place, 45 for second, 40 for third, 35 for fourth, 30 for fifth, 25 for sixth, 20 for seventh and 15 for eighth.
Each school also received five points for each team entered into FHSAA State Series competition at the district level.
The winners in each of the six classifications will be honored at the inaugural Coca-Cola/FHSAA AWards banquet on July 17 at Saddlebrook Golf Resort. Each of the six winning schools will receive a trophy as well as a $1,000 cash prize to be used in funding their co-curricular activities program.
Other winners included Bloomingdale in 6A, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in 5A, Miami Ransom Everglades in 3A, Fort Lauderdale Westminster in 2A, and Tallahassee Maclay in A.
Training update: Thought I'd update you on my progress in training for the Key Training Center's Run for the Money 5K on July 17.
I covered the 5K distance for the first time in my life on Thursday, running and walking the course in 38 minutes, 1 second. I made it to the 1-mile mark without stopping; the second and third miles were a 50-50 combination of running and walking.
Anyone who would like to join in the fun should call 795-4451.
And if running just isn't your thing, there are golf and tennis tournaments planned to help the Key Training Center raise money during its annual drive.