AATL softball captures first state title

A pitcher’s duel, extra innings and weathering wet, muddy conditions were all needed before Academy at the Lakes softball could finally claim its first-ever state championship. Overcoming hurdles, they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The Wildcats (26-4) defeated Monticello Aucilla Christian 1-0 in 11 innings on May 22 in the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) Class 2A … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes savors first winning season

After five seasons of varsity baseball, senior Eric Hutchison can finally say he was part of a winning team. “It’s always nice to be the first success in something. The fact that I’m a senior makes it much better,” said Hutchison, a team captain pitcher/infielder who’s played for Academy at the Lakes (AATL) since eighth grade. The Wildcats just wrapped up its first winning season in program … [Read more...]

Local soccer player scores prestigious statewide honor

Whenever the Land O’ Lakes Gators needed a score, Sydny Nasello was there to answer the call. And, she delivered often, racking up 120 goals during her four-year varsity soccer career. In this past season alone, the senior tallied 45 goals and 13 assists — guiding the Gators to the regional finals, a 23-3 record and undefeated (7-0) district mark. Her skills on the field — combined … [Read more...]

Track and field standout leaps into nationals

It didn’t take long for Keymo Pearson to realize Arielle Boone oozed potential when she joined his AAU track club last spring. “Day 1, when I saw her…I said, ‘Hey, if this girl stays with the team, she’s going to be great.’ My exact words were, ‘She has the chance to be one of the best jumpers in Pasco County history,’” said Pearson, an assistant track coach at the Wesley Chapel-based Speed … [Read more...]

New Land O’ Lakes football coach embraces program’s traditions

Chad Walker, a veteran college football assistant, is bringing his experience to Land O’ Lakes High as its new head varsity football coach. He is replacing Brian Wachtel, who resigned in November after a combined 25-42 mark in seven seasons. His only winning season was in 2013, when the team went 8-3. Walker, was among 40 applicants for the position. The Pennsylvania native was selected … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes swim teams celebrate ‘dream’ season

Land O’ Lakes High School’s 2017 swim season was a memorable one. The Gators thrived in the Class 2A swim meet last month, earning medals and shattering school records in jaw-dropping fashion. The girls squad finished fifth (out of 47 teams), while the boys placed 10th (out of 39 teams) — marking the highest combined finish at states on record for both teams. They collectively earned … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes football relishes playoffs, breakout season

Academy at the Lakes football head coach Shawn Brown anticipated a team turnaround before the season. He was right. After three consecutive losing seasons in the eight-man football ranks, the Wildcats are in the midst of one of its best in program history, with a state title in reach. The team currently stands at 9-1, including a 7-0 mark in Florida Christian Region 2 — worthy enough for … [Read more...]

Local high schools shine at state swim meets

The 2017 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Swimming & Diving Championships wrapped up its meets across all four classes on Nov. 11. Among local schools, Land O’ Lakes and Sunlake displayed the strongest showings at the state event, held at Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart. The Sunlake High School girls team placed fourth (out of 48 schools) in the Class 3A meet, … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes High head football coach resigns

Land O’ Lakes High School’s varsity football program will have a new leader in 2018. Brian Wachtel, the Gators head coach since 2011, stepped down following the team’s final regular season game on Nov. 3 — a 36-6 win over Fivay High School. Wachtel, 39, announced his decision to principal Ric Mellin prior to the game. Land O’ Lakes athletic director Michael Frump said the school will … [Read more...]

Sunlake golfer among local standouts at states

Nearly two dozen high school golfers, boys and girls, from The Laker/Lutz News Coverage area competed in the 2017 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state tournament, which ran Oct. 31 to Nov. 8 Sunlake High’s Jordan Sarhaddi was one of the standouts. The junior tied for 16th in the 2A boys meet, shooting a +13 (75-82—157) at El Campeon Course at the Mission Inn Resort … [Read more...]