Distance runner receives Academic All-State honors

As he was busy shattering school records in cross country and track, Freedom High School’s Alejandro Michel was also leading the pack in the classroom — posting a weighted 8.8285 grade-point average and earning salutatorian honors for the Class of 2018. Those accomplishments resulted in a rare statewide designation for student-athletes: Alejandro Michel was one of 24 athletes named to the … [Read more...]

Wesley Chapel dojo heads to karate nationals

The 2018 AAU/USA Karate National Championships kick off this week in Fort Lauderdale — and one local dojo will be well-represented. Wesley Chapel’s Keiko Shin Karate Academy (KSKA) is sending 22 athletes, ranging in ages 6 to 18, to square up against more than 3,000 elite, top karate competitors from the United States and beyond. The event runs from June 27 to June 30 at the Broward County … [Read more...]

Saint Leo lacrosse celebrates its program-best season

Saint Leo University made history in 2006 as the first NCAA lacrosse program in the state of Florida. The university has added another significant notch to its belt — becoming the state’s first lacrosse program to make a national championship appearance. Saint Leo’s men’s lacrosse team squared up on May 27 against Merrimack College in the NCAA Division II Lacrosse National Championship at … [Read more...]

Prep football mid-season review

With the midway point of the 2017 prep football season recently passing by, here’s a look at some noteworthy teams and players in The Laker/Lutz News coverage. Best team: Zephyrhills High Bulldogs (6-1 overall, 5-0 district) Aside from an early season hiccup to Wiregrass Ranch (31-to-29 loss), the Bulldogs have planted themselves as one of the top — and most electrifying— teams in the … [Read more...]

Local athletes celebrate paralympic achievements

Whenever she competes, 12-year-old Danielle Kanas gives it her all. And that mindset has worked for the Martinez Middle School seventh-grader, who ran, swam, threw and jumped her way to 15 gold medals and six national records this summer at the Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals in Middleton, Wisconsin. Kanas — a single-arm amputee, missing her left arm below the elbow — recently added … [Read more...]

Eiland exits Kansas City Royals organization

Dave Eiland, one of Zephyrhills’ most celebrated sports figures, was let go as pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals after six seasons with the major league ball club. The move to not renew Eiland’s contract — first reported by the Kansas City Star on Oct. 2— was part of a greater staff shakeup as the club enters the offseason following an 80-82 season. The club also opted to part ways with … [Read more...]

New coach named for Wesley Chapel High softball

The Wesley Chapel High School varsity softball program, coming off its best season in school history, will look to continue its recent string of success under new leadership. Bill Hoopes, who runs the Tampa Bay-based Florida Firecrackers U16 travel softball team, last month was named the program’s head coach, replacing first-year coach Steve Mumaw. In a public Facebook post dated Sept. … [Read more...]

Pirates-Bulldogs: Winner gets playoffs, loser goes home

In high school football, every game is meaningful. If it involves two good teams, it's a little more important. And if the playoffs are on the line, that ups the ante. But if it's a rivalry game, it has the makings of something really special. Friday’s match up featuring the 5-3 Pasco Pirates and 7-1 Zephyrhills Bulldogs qualifies as all of the above. When Pasco visits Zephyrhills, … [Read more...]

Bishop McLaughlin football enters new era after joining district

      By Jeff Odom   For the first time in the program’s nine-year history, the Bishop McLaughlin Hurricanes are in a major district — Class 3A-District 4 — that will now make them eligible for the postseason for the first time sine 2007. That has players excited for what could be coming down the road. “We’re a private school and still a very … [Read more...]

Wharton QB Chase Litton decommits from USF

    By Jeff Odom   One of the highest regarded local prospects in the state won’t be joining the University of South Florida football team next season. Wharton High senior quarterback Chase Litton announced on his Twitter page July 26 that he has decided to back out of his verbal commitment with the Bulls to explore other options. “I want to apologize … [Read more...]