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2022 Sports in Review Oct. - Dec.

Posted 1/4/23

McDade, Brink,am gold STUART - Fleming Island High bagged two gold medals at the FHSAA state swimming and diving Class 3A championship meet Friday in Stuart with junior freestyler Maryn McDade …

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2022 Sports in Review Oct. - Dec.


McDade, Brink,am gold
STUART - Fleming Island High bagged two gold medals at the FHSAA state swimming and diving Class 3A championship meet Friday in Stuart with junior freestyler Maryn McDade successfully defending her 50 free state title and sophomore diver Ava Brinkman overcoming a horrific diving accident to return to the top tier of her sport.
Brinkman, who as a freshman registered one of the top scores statewide in her district championships last year, had a diving accident in the week prior to regions that ended her spectacular climb as one of the top upcoming divers in Florida.
“It was definitely a surreal experience especially with everything that I went through with the accident,” said Brinkman, who scored 448.85 points for the gold with runnerup Hadley Futch of Winter Springs keeping chase with a 441.80. “I think it was incredible to see how I grew up within myself and made my way back to win the state championship.”
Brinkman’s clutch dive that separated her from her two chasers; Hutch and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kaitlyn Raby (third at 438.60) was her final dive.
McDade, who quietly last year blitzed the pool to her first state title in her specialty; the 50 freestyle, warded off all challengers; mainly a pesky duo from Ponte Vedra High School, to complete the mission a second time only this time with a bit more tension involved.
In her prelims, McDade had to fend off Ponte Vedra sophomore sensation Penelope Zarczynski, a district and region rival in the prior two weeks. McDade smoothly ripped her fastest 50 of the season with a 23.39 with Zarczynski just off at 23.42 and Seminole’s Mahya Golubovic third at 23.47 in one of the tightest races up to that point.
In the final, the 1-2-3 stayed the same with McDade hitting the turbo to knock her time down to 23.07 to win with Zarczynski runnerup at 223.36 and Golubovic third at 23.49 as the trio delivered one of the tighest races in recent history.
Zarczynski turned the tables on McDade in the 100 free with a gold with McDade fourth. McDade was tied for second last year in the 100 free.

Carroll fourth quarter surge
falls just short

HOWEY IN THE HILLS - Middleburg High senior golfer Chase Carroll blitzed the final nine holes of his second round of play at the FHSAA Class 2A championship tournament at the Mission Inn Resort in Howie in the Hills and then...
Waited and Waited and Waited... before being put into a sudden death overtime playoff with Ponte Vedra High senior Brock Blais that ended after five holes with Carroll missing a state title by a five foot putt.
“The ball circled the hole and spit out,” said Carroll, who was on his fourth trip to the Class 2A championship tournament. “When I made the tying putt on 18, I thought, it just makes the story better. Then we went into overtime.”
The miss ended a dramatic and exciting finish to the Class 2A title; by the tiebreaker to Blais, as Carroll was reliving the equally dramatic overtime finish that big brother Cody Carroll successfully negotiated for his Class 2A title in 2016.
“I started out in the middle of the pairings pack because I was not in the top three after the first round,” said Carroll, who finished with a par 72 on the hilly course.
In the final tally, Carroll, who has chased big brother Cody Carroll, now finishing up four college years of golf at the University of North Florida where Chase will follow suit in the fall, sat and watched the leaderboard only to see that Ponte Vedra High senior Brock Blais scorched the first round with a three under par 69 then struggled through the early holes of the second round to let Carroll sneak into contention. Blais would only hit one birdie in his first nine on day two then get set backs with three bogies in the final nine to put Carroll up by one going into the 18th hole.
Blais who was the final golfer at the initial tee off at about 10 a.m. had Carroll, who teed off at 9 a.m., in the clubhouse with crossed fingers.
“When he got to the 18th hole, I was one up,” said Carroll. “He had a great drive, but missed the green on his approach, but then hit an insane chip shot to tie the score.”
In the playoff holes, which started in a three-hole loop (18, 1, 17) until one golfer created a stroke lead to determine the winner.

TJ power earns Broncos playoff ticket

FERNANDINA BEACH - Middleburg High running back T.J. Lane offered up a second 300-plus yard offensive showcase with 321 yards and four scores against Fernandina Beach in a 28-14 Bronco win that propelled the Broncos into the Class 3S region playoffs on Friday.
“I didn’t do this by myself,” said Lane. “My O-Line, my offense coordinator, my whole team just stepped up in the second half of the season. It has been a long time for Middleburg in the playoffs.”
Middleburg coach Ryan Wolfe remembered that the Clay High football 2013 team that he was part of years ago that went to the Class 5A state final opened their season at 1-4 before running the rest of the 10-5 season to the championship game (a 66-9 loss to American Heritage with the likes of Sony Michel at RB (now Los Angeles Chargers) and Patrick Surtain Jr. (now Denver Broncos).
Middleburg opened with losses to Hawthorne (8-0), Bishop Kenny (8-2), Bradford (9-1) and Ponte Vedra (5-5), all but Ponte Vedra in region playoffs. The Broncos fifth loss was to No. 3-Columbia (vs. No. 6-Lincoln) who is in opposite bracket to Middleburg if both teams win quarterfinals.
Against Fernandina Beach, Lane’s powerful running opened with a 50 (on second carry of game) and 21 yarder to open the game to a 14-0 Bronco lead with a short one in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead into the half. Lane would go 40 yards in the fourth quarter for his final touchdown putting Middleburg up 28-7.

Myers third at state XC

TALLAHASSEE - Fleming Island High junior Graham Myers was slowly approaching a possible triple play of cross country with his recent district and region titles, but his journey for the third prong; the Class 3A title, fell short only because the defending Class 3A champion decided to set a new state course record on the same day.
“He (Patrick Koon, Leon, defending state champion) went out really fast on the first mile, like 4:38, and me and another guy were chasing at 4:46,” said Myers. “My dad had suggested going out at 4:50 and having some energy at the end which may have worked. I pleased I had some gas at the end to chase down Ruiz (Joshua Ruiz of Belen Jesuit, runnerup for eventual team champions) just not enough real estate.”
Myers, third in an outstanding 15 minute, 42.10 second effort, watched from the lead chase pack as defending champion Patrick Koon, of Leon, pulled away decisively at the second mile to garner his second straight title in 14:56.70. Koon’s run was the fastest time ever posted on the Apalachee Regional Park tough, hill course.
As the runners passed mile one on the course, Koon was closer to both Ruiz and Myers in a 4:38 opener with his chasers at 4:46, but Koon blasted the second mile extend away from the field smoothly with a 9:30 two mile split with Ruiz and Myers 14 seconds off the pace.
In the girls Class 4A race, Oakleaf High senior Sierra Barrera finished eighth with a 19:09.90 effort after back-to-back finishes under 19 minutes at her disrict and region races. Barrera faced off as a chaser of a front running pace group that included eventual winner Emma O’Day of Boca Raton who won in 18:23.90 on the tough, hilly course. Just five runners in the girls race finished under 19 minutes.
In the team scoring, defending 4A champion Buchholz repeated as champions with Barrera finishing ahead of all of the Buchholz runners after finishing among the Bobcats top three runners at district and regions.

Poucher, Sakowski blast
for Cougar flag title

LAKESIDE - Green Cove Springs Junior High flag football coach Doug Deter employed a bit of Tennessee Volunteer speed play on his offense with tailback Hayley Sakowski ripping for two long touchdowns and wide receiver Emily Poucher taking the air route as the Lady Cougars won the Clay County Flag Football World Championships 25-8 Monday night against Lakeside Junior High at Lakeside. Both teams entered the contest with five wins and one loss; Green Cove losing to Lakeside just two weeks ago, 7-6. Green Cove beat Oakleaf to advance with Lakeside dethroning defending champion Lake Asbury to advance.
Poucher used her long reach and strong hands to look a bit like Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, former Detroit Lions Hall of Famer, as she caught two passes amidst heavy traffic from the Lakeside defense.
Green Cove scored first on a fourth down stretch from Madine from the one yard line, but missed a PAT pass play to go 6-0.
On Lakeside’s first series, with three minutes in the first period, Sakowski snared a pass interception that set up the next Green Cove score. Sakowski got stopped at the goal line on a breakaway and Lakeside’s defense, behind rusher Kaylin Smith, held on four downs at their own goal line.
Lakeside quarterback Ella Crowe broke from the first down in the shadow of the goal line to get out to the Lakeside 22 yard line and give the Lady Gators’ offense some breathing room.
Green Cove got to 19-0 off a pass catch from Poucher in traffic in the end zone just before halftime.
Crowe would get a Lakeside touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Deter was happy to just run the clock out after a breakaway score from Sakowski put the scorer at 25-8.

KHHS Guy runs school record at
region XC

LAKELAND, Fla. – Senior Alex Guy of the Florida Southern men’s cross country team ran the fourth fastest 10K time in program history while setting a new program record for a 10K performance at the NCAA Region Championship Saturday morning. The Keystone Heights, Fla. native completed the distance in 31:45.4 to become just the fourth Moccasin all-time to run a sub-32 minute 10K. Guy led the Mocs to a sixth place team finish in the 18-member field at the 2022 NCAA South Region Championship hosted by Florida Southern College in conjunction with Polk County Sports and Tourism. Guy’s individual time earned him 19th overall and secured All-Region honors for the senior.
Guy surpassed the previous FSC Regional Record Holder Eric Walker’s (2003-06) time of 31:47 which was set at the 2006 NCAA Region Championship.
In the mens race, former Keystone Heights High runner Alex Guy, a senior at Florida Southern, finished as the fourth Moc in 16th overall in 27:06.6. The Florida Southern mens team finished fourth with host Embry Riddle winning the team title with 24 points with Saint Leo, Tampa and Florida Southern finishing in a tight flurry with scores of 65, 66 and 74, respectively.
The next three finishers for the Mocs placed between 34th and 37th place to round out the scoring five. Sophomore Marisa Kortright, a Fleming Island High graduate, took 34th in 24:54.8, just ahead of junior Emery Roth who finished in 35th with a time of 24:58.5. The fifth and final member of the scoring five was sophomore Mya Stam who crossed the line in 37th in 25:14.3.

Kailes top Bull at American XC

The University of South Florida men’s and women’s cross-country men and women’s teams competed in the American Athletic Conference Championships held at Mohawk Park on Friday.
For the men’s 8K race, senior Ben Kailes (St. Johns Country Day School) was the top finished for USF with a time of 25:40.5. Tyler Wadsworth (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and Sebastian Edwards (Celebration, Fla.) followed behind for the Bulls with times of 26:31.9 and 26:33.8.
The women finished in 11th with a final score of 313 and the men’s squad checked in at 9th place among with a score of 259.
Freshman Cora Kolodge (Fair Haven, Mich.) paced the women’s team with a time of 22:50.1 and finished in 51st position, while Kelly Lynch (Wilmington, Del.) placed second for the Bulls in 53rd position with a time of 22:54.7. Alyssa Wyatt (Jacksonville, Fla.) rounded out the top three for the Bulls with a mark of 23:52.0.
Also in the American Athletic Conference, the University of Central Florida womens team place eighth. Keystone Heights High graduate Camryn Williams is a member of the Lady Knights team.
UCF and USF will travel to the NCAA South Region championships in Huntsville, AL on November 11 with the NCAA championship in Stillwater, OK, on Nov. 11 and 19.

OMG! Knights lose on last play (again!)

OAKLEAF - In a two-week span of incredible bad luck where the Oakleaf High football team scored nearly 70 points and amassed nearly 1000 yards of offense, the Knights, for a second week in a row, lost in amazing fashion in a 49-48 loss to district rival Creekside High on Thursday at Oakleaf.
“Think about what we have put on the board and that we are 10 points away from being 6-0,” said Oakleaf coach Marcus Miller, after the Creekside Knights, (5-1) answered point for point to an incredible Wild West shootout of sorts between two of the gunsling-est quarterbacks in the area; Oakleaf’s Drew Ammon and Creekside’s Wilson Edwards. “Both games (Chiles, 27-23, loss on fourth and one denial) we put points on the board, played incredible defense, but shot ourselves in the foot time and time again.”
Oh, yeah, the shot-ourselves-in-the-foot probably meant to address the penalty flags amassed by Oakleaf; two for long rush scores from running back Devin Outlaw, one for a run to the four yard line.
“We did a lot of really good things last night, but, we also did a lot of bad things,” said Miller, now 3-3, losses in fourth quarter fashion to Baker County, Chiles and, now, Creekside. “Way too many penalties and we will get that fixed. I promise. In our very tough district, you are not going to win by a ton of points against any of the teams. It will come down to those what I call championship moments in tight ball games.”
In the comparison of both quarterbacks, Miller commented that a game where both guys are just slinging away and surviving is what people will remember.
“It’s not like we gave up a 49-0 game, both guys were competing at the highest level and making miracle plays when they needed to,” said Miller. “The reality is is that might be one of the best football games you may ever see. If you respect the game of football, and I shared this with kids I saw today in the school, this was the type of game that is just an honor to be a part of.”