On the eve of district tournaments, several area soccer players can look back on outstanding regular seasons. Chamberlain's girls enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history, winning all but one regular-season game and suffering just its second loss Thursday night in a 7-1 setback to Durant in the Western Conference tournament.
Still, the Chiefs (15-2) enter this week's 3A-10 tournament as the top seed, and, with the added advantage of playing on their home field, the site of the tourney. Chamberlain can thank a stellar offense for that, led by twins Dana and Diana Hemke, who combined for 141 points this season. Diana scored 32 goals and had 11 assists on the season while Dana added 28 goals and 11 assists. Striker Julie Reyes added 10 goals and 11 assists in 15 games. The 3A-10 tournament, also featuring Brandon, King, Leto, Plant, Tampa Bay Tech and Wharton, begins Tuesday and continues through Wednesday with the championship game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Other players who made an impact this season include Gaither's duo of Michaelene Cadiz and Jessica Robinson. Although the 15-6 Cowboys are talented throughout their roster, Cadiz and Robinson emerged as team leaders. Cadiz scored a team-high 25 goals while Robinson added 18 for the Cowboys, who will compete in the tough 4A-7 district tournament with Sickles, Durant and Bloomingdale this week.
On the boys side, Sickles' Dustin Beach and Brandon Streicher (a combined 25 goals and 12 assists) were solid, as was Leto's Nick Vermette (16 goals) and Bryan Drayne (12 goals). For Gaither, Michael Harris (20 assists) and Norris Hartzog (10 goals) were catalyst while Cowboys' goalkeeper Jared Swindle posted five shutouts and a 1.20 goals against average.
WRESTLING: Some of the state's top wrestlers were in action this weekend at the Tony Ippolito Memorial tournament in Brandon. Although teams from Chamberlain, Gaither and Wharton participated, two wrestlers qualified to compete for individual championships: Gaither 171-pounder Jared Reber and Wharton's 189-pound Michael Horvath. See today's Sports section of the St. Petersburg Times for results.
AWARDS: Two local athletes were selected as winners of the Allen C. Griffin Memorial Volleyball Award by Hillsborough County on Thursday. Gaither volleyball player Tally Payne earned the honor after leading the Cowboys to the regional playoffs. Payne, a middle hitter who led Gaither in kills with seven per game, has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of South Florida next fall. Also, honored as the Ben Walker Outstanding Cross County Runner was Leto's Doane Greenidge, who enjoyed a solid season, and despite several injuries still placed 21st at the Class 3A state meet.