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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. Lightning center Brayden Point prepares for a faceoff Saturday against the Panthers.
  2. The Lightning's Anthony Cirelli (71) and Ross Colton put pressure on Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky during the first period Saturday at Amalie Arena.
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Barre-Boulet (60) battles to move the puck against Florida Panthers center Alex Wennberg (21) during first period action at Amalie Arena, on Thursday, April 15, 2021 in Tampa.
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) beats Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger (60) to score the game winning over time goal as the Lightning beat the Panthers 3-2 at Amalie Arena, on Thursday, April 15, 2021 in Tampa.
  5. The Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve in Gibsonton features a 2.6-mile unpaved trail.
  6. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh shoots and scores against Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins during the first period Thursday.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak, who has been sidelined since March 23, returned to the lineup Thursday night in Columbus.
  8. Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (70) stops a shot in front of Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, and Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic (96) and defenseman David Savard (58) during the third period Tuesday in Columbus.
  9. Former Rays first baseman Carlos Pena is featured on a new MLB Network commercial discussing the meaning of his signature term, "plakata," with current Rays outfielder Austin Meadows.
  10. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) stayed on the ice after going awkwardly into the boards during the second period of Tampa Bay's 3-1 loss to Columbus Tuesday at Amalie Arena. Blue Jackets defenseman Mikko Lehtonen, left, looks on.
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) looks on as the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrate their goal scored by defenseman David Savard (58) scores making it 2-0 during second period action at Amalie Arena, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in Tampa.
  12. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) challenges Florida Panthers left wing Anthony Duclair (91) for the puck during a game last month at Amalie Arena.
  13. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) team up to stop a shot by the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
  14. Lightning forward Ross Colton is named the first star of the game as the Lightning beat the Blackhawks 4-2 at Amalie Arena on Thursday.
  15. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ross Colton (79) celebrates after he crashes the net and beats Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen (32) to score the go-ahead goal making the score 3-2 during third period action at Amalie Arena, on Thursday, March 18, 2021 in Tampa. In background is Blackhawks Ryan Carpenter (22).
  16. Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who brought along the Lombardi Trophy, talks with Paul Kennedy, Fox Sports broadcaster, during the first period of Thursday night's Lightning game.
  17. Denny Petrov, with Salty Dog Kayak Rentals, left, tends to paddlers Joe Bonzo, from center, Brenda Bonzo and A.J. Bonzo as they launch for a day trip out of Werner-Boyce State Park in Port Richey.
  18. The Stanley Cup championship banner is lifted up in a ceremony held with fans ahead of the Lightning's game against the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena on Saturday.
  19. Tom Brady celebrates with his family following the Bucs' victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 last month at Raymond James Stadium.
  20. Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) scores a goal on Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen (32) during the third period of Sunday's win in Chicago.
  21. Lightning goalteder Curtis McElhinney, left, tries to stop a shot by Florida Panthers left wing Anthony Duclair (91) during a game last month in Tampa.
  22. Guard Xavier Castaneda and USF will travel to Wichita State instead of Tulane for its final regular-season game.
  23. Jason Kokrak drives the 18th fairway on Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during the third round of the 2019 Valspar Championship.