New Land O’ Lakes coach enjoys the gridiron

When Ronald “Trac” Baughn moved to Florida a couple years ago, his sights were set on enjoying retirement. He pictured himself fishing every day and visiting nearby family members on a regular basis. But, it wasn’t long before he fantasized about stepping back on the gridiron again. And that’s after three long decades of coaching high school and college football — mostly throughout … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes hoops coach retires after 31 years

Land O’ Lakes High School varsity boys basketball coach Dave Puhalski is ready for a timeout. After 31 years roaming the Gators sidelines, barking orders, drawing up plays, and molding boys into young men, the longtime coach announced his retirement following the 2019-2020 season. Puhalski’s swan song was a memorable one — sending off eight seniors to the tune of a 21-6 record, a 5A-7 … [Read more...]

Sunlake girls weightlifting state champs — again

Since taking its first-ever state title last year, Sunlake High School’s varsity girls weightlifting had a newfound target on their back — as hungry competition looked to dethrone the team all season long. Some opponents went so far to say it to their face. “We knew there were going to be people trying to take the title and trying to overcome us in general,” Sunlake senior Antoinette … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes youth runner setting new records

Elli Black didn’t just win the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K women’s race last month, she also set a major milestone — becoming the youngest winner in the event’s 40-plus year history, at just 11 years old. The Land O’ Lakes youth clocked 30:57 in the 4.97-mile course to best more than 2,200 female participants in the popular annual race on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard. The second-place … [Read more...]

Sunlake distance runners leave lasting mark

For this group of distance runners, the thousands of miles of foot to pavement have finally paid off — in the form of college athletic scholarships. The past few years, Sunlake High School’s boys and girls cross-country and long distance track programs have established themselves as among the best in the area, and the state. This year’s National Signing Day festivities underscored that fact: … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes seeks new football coach

Land O’ Lakes High School athletics department underwent a search for a new head football coach in 2018. The school again is heading back to the drawing board to find the next leader of its varsity football program, a mere two years later. Chad Walker, who coached the Gators in 2018 and 2019, resigned from his post to become the head football coach at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa; the … [Read more...]

Pine View football duo readying for prestigious tournament

Two Pine View Middle School seventh-graders are gearing up for one of the nation’s most prestigious youth football events. As members of FBU (Football University) Team Tampa, center Niko Spilotro and quarterback Jayce Nixon will participate in the annual FBU National Championship tournament in Naples, beginning Dec. 7. The 32-team tournament is described as “youth football’s biggest … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes cheerleaders win ‘Best of Pasco’

After a long history of struggles, the Land O’ Lakes High School varsity girls competitive cheerleading team is finding its groove. The Gators won the prestigious ‘Best of Pasco’ Sunshine Athletic Conference Cheerleading Competition on Nov. 16. At the event, hosted by Land O’ Lakes High, the Gators claimed a score of 78.4, defeating 12 other county high schools. The school’s crosstown rival, … [Read more...]

Prep football midseason review

The 2019 Florida high school football regular season has reached the midway point. Here’s a closer look at how teams and players are faring from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. Perfect performers At the midway mark, there are three programs sporting undefeated records — Academy at the Lakes, Gaither and Steinbrenner. What do each have in common? Potent offenses backed by efficient, … [Read more...]

New sports complex expected to attract national events

With concrete footers poured and steel beams heading vertical, the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex is a step closer to its much-anticipated opening. The $44 million sports complex is targeted for a mid-July 2020 soft opening — more than two years after a celebrated groundbreaking ceremony that marked the beginning of construction at 3211 Lajuana Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. Once completed, the … [Read more...]