Land O’ Lakes High softball wins state title

They finally did it. On May 20, the Land O’ Lakes High Gators unseated powerhouse Plantation American Heritage 3-1, claiming the Class 6A Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSSA) softball championship at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. The achievement marks the first fastpitch title for Land O'Lakes (29-3) and the first for a Pasco County program since Ridgewood High won in … [Read more...]

Servin’ aces on the sand

When Bethany Randall began playing beach volleyball nearly two years ago, she never envisioned it could lead to a Division I athletic scholarship. "It really just started with trying to get in shape," said Randall, a Land O' Lakes resident and senior at Seffner Christian Academy. Starting next spring, Randall will play women's beach volleyball at Jacksonville State University, a Division I … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes poised for breakout season

After three consecutive losing seasons in the eight-man football ranks, Academy at the Lakes looks to make a splash in 2017, under fourth-year head coach Shawn Brown. The Wildcats are coming off a 2-8 mark in 2016, after finishing 4-7 and 3-5 the prior two seasons. But now — with a fruitful combination of talent, depth and experience — the Wildcats appear primed for a breakout … [Read more...]

Wesley Chapel High softball reaches first regional appearance

The banner season for Wesley Chapel High softball isn’t quite over. At 18-6, the Wildcats already have secured the program’s best record — and first winning season — in its 10-year history. Now comes the school’s first playoff appearance. The team is set to face the Robinson Knights (22-5) in the Class 6A Regional Quarterfinal on May 3 at 7 p.m. The game, at Robinson High School in … [Read more...]

Going out on top

Pennye Garcia, the longest-standing cheerleading coach in Pasco County is retiring — and she’s going out on top. Garcia, who’s coached at Sunlake High in multiple stints (2007-2008, 2013-2017), was recently crowned Sunshine Athletic Conference (SAC) East Cheer Coach of the Year, for the second consecutive year. It, too, marks the second straight year one of Garcia’s cheerleaders — senior … [Read more...]

Sunlake girls weightlifting well-represented on SAC awards

The dominance of the Sunlake girls weightlifting program remained apparent at the annual Sunshine Athletic Conference (East) Awards. Seahawks coach Denise Garcia won her second consecutive SAC East Girls’ Weightlifting Coach of the Year Award, and 10 of her lifters were named to the 2016-2017 SAC East All-Conference team, announced on March 6. A mix of youth and experience, Sunlake won … [Read more...]

Sunlake falls short of state title bid

They were just one win shy from reaching the Class 7A state tournament. Yet, as the performance in their first-ever region final would indicate, Sunlake’s varsity girls basketball team still has some work to get there. The Seahawks (17-9) — the last girls hoops squad standing in Pasco County — suffered a devastating 66-24 loss to Orlando Edgewater (16-14) on Feb. 17 at Wiregrass Ranch High … [Read more...]

Academy softball player makes national team

Academy at the Lakes’ Alexis Kilfoyl is a softball prodigy, of sorts. She’s been a varsity star since the seventh grade. She was a freshman when she committed to the University of Alabama, which is perennially one of the nation’s top softball programs. As a sophomore, she’s already one of the area’s top pitchers and hitters. Now, she’s among elite company. On Jan. 3, the … [Read more...]

More girls pumping iron at Academy at the Lakes

When Academy at the Lakes began its girls weightlifting program, there was just one girl on the team. That was in 2014, and the sole lifter was senior Kennedy Van Zandt Lachiotte. Since then, the program has grown steadily. Participation (and expectations) is up under second-year coach Marla Oliver, who took over in 2015 after John Castelmare’s retirement. And, despite the exit of … [Read more...]

Thomas leads makeshift AATL hoops team

Imani Thomas has had to adapt —and lead — in the face of mass exodus. The Academy at the Lakes senior, like others, wasn’t even sure if the private school would field a basketball team prior to the 2016-2017 season. The program had lost its uber-successful coach — Karim Nohra— who “retired” then wound up at Carrollwood Day School. It lost its most prolific scorer — junior Audra Leipold … [Read more...]