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  1. Pinellas

Seminole High football player, 17, killed by impaired driver, deputies say

Sophie Delott, 17, was killed while riding her bike over the Indian Rocks Beach Causeway Bridget on June 28, when she was struck by a car. Delott was the only female player on Seminole High School’s football team, and had recently enlisted in the Marine Corps. [Photo courtesy of the Seminole High School Warhawks football team]
Published Jun. 29

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Fellow teammates, coaches and parents from the Seminole High School football team gathered on the field Saturday morning to remember Sophie Delott.

They recalled stories of Delott, the team's only female player, her humble attitude and her commitment to the game. Delott, 17, was struck and killed by a car while biking on the Indian Rocks Causeway Bridge on Friday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Delott never sought out attention, said football coach Chris Miller. That's why he surprised her and the rest of the team last month by inviting a local sergeant from the Marine Corps to reveal that Delott had enlisted. The rest of the Seminole High School football team erupted in cheer when they heard the news and lifted her in the air, patting her on the back as they hooted.

It was the most special moment in Miller's 17-year-long coaching career. Now, it's an even more cherished memory.

"Everything she did had nothing to do with wanting to be rewarded," he said. "It was always about everybody else with her."

Delott was riding in the bicycle lane on Indian Rocks Causeway Bridge when deputies said 69-year-old Neil Singhal swerved into the lane and hit her Friday night around 10:30 p.m. She was ejected from the bike and later died in the hospital.

Deputies say Singhal was driving while impaired and arrested him on a charge of DUI manslaughter. He was being held Saturday in the Pinellas County jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Football made Delott feel at home, her friends said. It reminded her of the fields she'd toss a ball in at her old home in Illinois. She played, ran drills and lifted weights with the other guys without a complaint for the two years she was on the team, Miller said.

He added that she never wanted special treatment — she valued being part of a team.

"She was a super strong person," said teammate Cayden Edds, 17. "Strong minded. Really strong for her size."

At the end of the last practice on Thursday, where Delott was teaching freshman how to properly lift weights, Miller said goodbye.

"I'll see you next week, Soph."

Her white Warhawks jersey now hangs in her locker, and a glass pot of flowers below with her cleats off to the side. On Saturday, teammates patted each other on the back, sniffling, and looked on at the makeshift memorial.

The team has a tradition at their Stetson training camp each summer. At the end of the camp on July 22, they will share why they play football and talk about the roommate they've been paired with. It's where Delott once told teammates how football made her feel like herself.

Those evenings moved the team so much they put a sign in their locker room, painted in orange and green. "7/22, #BROTHERHOOD."

Miller looked down while thinking about how in a few weeks, they'll have to do it without her.

Contact Romy Ellenbogen at or rellenbogen@tampabay.com. Follow @Romyellenbogen.

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