Mari Faiello - Sports Trending and Outdoors Reporter

Sports Trending and Outdoors Reporter

It’s always been about sports — whether I was playing them or writing about them. It should be no surprise that’s how I ended up here, covering athletics for Florida’s best newspaper after internship stints in 2019 and 2020. I’m usually toting around a Venti Starbucks iced coffee or refresher in one hand with a Staples notepad and Pilot G-2 pen in the other. When I’m not out on assignment, I’m playing with my dog. The University of Florida and the Independent Florida Alligator taught me how to write, showing me I could actually live out my lifelong passion. And it didn’t take long for me to figure out I get the same rush of adrenaline pursuing a story I love as I did diving on the hardwood and plastic-tiled volleyball courts for 12 years. And now, I get to write for my hometown paper. The same paper that inspired me to pursue the life of a journalist.

  1. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left, and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady visit at mid field following Tampa Bay's victory over Green Bay earlier this season at Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Bucs safety Mike Edwards (32) and teammates celebrate Edwards' interception during the fourth quarter of Tampa Bay's win Sunday in New Orleans.
  3. The Lightning's Tyler Johnson (9) moves the puck into the Chicago zone during the first period Friday at Amalie Arena.
  4. The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired veteran play-by-play announcer Dave Randorf as the voice of the team.
  5. The Lightning Blue Crew waves signs with the stands empty as the Lightning take on the Chicago Blackhawks during Wednesday's season opener at Amalie Arena.
  6. Lightning players watch as the Stanley Cup championship banner is raised before the home opener again the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday at Amalie Arena.
  7. Lightning center Tyler Johnson was placed on waivers Tuesday so the team could be salary-cap compliant on opening night.
  8. Lightning coach Jon Cooper gives direction to players during the final day of Lightning training camp on Tuesday at Amalie Arena.
  9. The Lightning's center ice logo is painted on the Amalie Arena ice by the ice crew earlier this month in preparation for the start of the NHL season.
  10. Victor Hedman and the Lightning brought the Stanley Cup home to Tampa. Perhaps the team can win it again this year.
  11. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, left, defenseman Ryan McDonagh, middle, and  left wing Ondrej Palat rest between group drills during the final day  training camp Tuesday. Behind them is the pane of glass, containing signatures and well wishes from fans, that accompanied them to the playoff bubble last season.
  12. Lightning center Anthony Cirelli, right, protects the puck against teammate Devante Stephens, left, during a scrimmage earlier this month at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon. Cirelli was a restricted free agent before re-signing with the Lightning this past offseason.
  13. Brayden Point of the Lightning protects the puck against Miro Heiskanen of the Stars during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final. Tampa Bay and Dallas are Central Division opponents this season.
  14. Lightning center Mitchell Stephens, left, with Cal Foote (52) on the ice during Wednesday's Blue vs. White scrimmage at the TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
  15. Bucs defensive end Pat O'Connor (79) and linebacker Jack Cichy (48) celebrate Tampa Bay's wild-card win over Washington.
  16. Washington's Taylor Heinicke previously played in eight NFL games, starting one.
  17. Will the Lightning and Brayden Point get a rematch with the Dallas Stars this month? That remains to be seen for now.
  18. The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired veteran play-by-play announcer Dave Randorf as the voice of the team.
  19. Lightning forward Cristoval "Boo" Nieves (59), left, works to hold off forward Daniel Walcott (75) during Wednesday's scrimamge at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
  20. Lightning winger Mathieu Joseph, left, talks with head coach Jon Cooper Tuesday at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
  21. This year's hockey divisions will have sponsors, a way of reducing the financial blow that the league took last season as a result of the pandemic.
  22. “We’re pretty familiar with how we need to play to hopefully have some success,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “But it’s going to be a grind."
  23. USF's David Collins drives to the basket against UCF during their game Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at the Yuengling Center in Tampa.