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"Tell your quarterback

to stop playing volleyball."

TOM FISHER

Zephyrhills football coach after his Bulldogs had a field day against the Robby Mahler-less offense of Hudson in a 72-0 win. Mahler, the Cobras quarterback, broke the growth plate in his left ankle playing volleyball in gym class the day before the game.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Gulf hires All-American

to head up girls program

Gulf has hired Cynthia Steel as its new girls basketball coach, replacing the departed Tom Jessee (now the boys coach at Mitchell).

Steel is a former three-time NAIA All-American at Briar Cliff (Ia.) College. She was the team MVP in 1998 and traveled to Europe in 1997 as a member of the Athletes in Action team.

After graduating with a B.A. in Physical Education/Psychology in 1998, Steel coached as an assistant at Briar Cliff and was the head junior varsity coach. She has run a series of basketball camps and has also coached soccer.

Steel will coach Social Studies at Gulf.

CROSS COUNTRY

Mitchell runners join list

of first-time winners

Add the boys cross country team at Mitchell to those at the school that have posted their first wins this fall.

The Mustangs won their own meet Friday with 47 points, bettering second-place Zephyrhills by nine points on the Mitchell campus.

Danny Sheehan made it a sweep for Mitchell by winning the individual title, finishing first in 18:13 (he ran a 17:04 the week before). Sheehan's time, although not a great time on a dry course, was good considering the muddy conditions the runners competed in.

"That was a heck of a time on that course," Mitchell coach Bill Napolitano said. "The course was definitely muddy and slow."

So muddy, in fact, that it claimed one of Dave Stricek's shoes. So Stricek continued on with just one shoe for about a mile-and-a-half, said Napolitano. After making a turn and heading back for the finish the line, Stricek stopped for his shoe and finished the race with his feet fully clad.

The Mitchell junior varsity boys runners claimed the top six positions to give the Mustangs a perfect score.

Gulf's Barbara Carr won the girls race, and helped the Bucs to a team win.

VOLLEYBALL

Royal Knights hot start

continues in tourney win

River Ridge coach Heidi Castelamare said to beware of her volleyball team during the preseason, and her players are making the coach a prophet.

This weekend in Tampa, River Ridge improved to 7-0 on the season with wins over Lake Gibson, Bloomingale, Tampa Riverview and Ocala Forest.

River Ridge beat Bloomingdale 15-6, 14-16, 15-11 in the semifinals, and then put away Forest in the title match 15-9, 15-6.

"This is one of the best (starts) in a while," Castelamare said. "We're doing pretty well right now."

Castelamare cited setter Dawn Conner's and Robin Anderson's serves, and said that front line players Alley Bigger, Brandi Young and Jen Dombrowski played well at the net.

SWIMMING

Rams get swimmer back,

await word on another

Of two key injured Ridgewood swimmers, one is expected to return for Wednesday's meet against Gulf while another may be lost for the season.

Diver Richard Shields, a senior, missed two weeks after tearing an abdominal muscle while wrestling with friends. Sophomore Stephanie Gerakos estimated she will be sidelined between three weeks and six months. Gerakos, who swims the 100-yard butterfly and 200 individual medley, had seven firsts and a second in two meets before dislocating her left shoulder during a Sept. 5 practice.

BEST BET

WHO: Ridgewood at Hudson

WHAT: Sunshine Athletic Conference volleyball

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

THE SKINNY: So, can Ridgewood (3-1) really challenge Hudson (4-0) in the SAC race? Based on how the Rams played last week against Palm Harbor, we're not so sure. But the Rams get a chance tonight to redeem themselves. However, the Cobras are fiercely defensive of their role as the county powerhouse and have seen the clippings and quotes proclaiming the Ram Challenge. Alison Baker and Nicki Prack will offset the Ram front line of Alayna Sherwood, Jen Sessa and Tara Pagliaro, so this one should come down to defense and serve-receive, and there are few better at that part of the game than Hudson.

_ Compiled by John C. Cotey, Steve Lee and Jamal Thalji.

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