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...]

Local athlete aspires to play major league soccer

Adam Hassan is a step closer to his goal of playing professional soccer. Hassan is bypassing his junior year at Steinbrenner High School to enter the D.C. United U-17 Academy, a youth and development program for the Major League Soccer (MLS) club D.C. United. He will be among a rare group of about 20 players chosen to join the Academy, which scouts regionally and internationally for … [Read more...]

Local pitchers delay pro careers for college

Two of the area’s top pitchers are postponing their pro careers — for now. Sunlake High School’s Tommy Mace and Steinbrenner High’s CJ Van Eyk — both selected in the middle rounds of June’s MLB Draft — have opted to forgo professional baseball contracts, and instead attend in-state Division I programs. Mace, drafted in the 12th round (347th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds, will pitch at … [Read more...]

Facility upgrades highlight Leaguerettes 2017 season

Coming off a calendar year of fast-pitch softball, the Lutz Leaguerettes have taken another step forward. The girls recreational softball league recently announced the completion of several new capital improvement projects at both Oscar Cooler and Nye parks. Some of the highlights: Field refurbishments, including new clay and magnetic break-free bases on all five fields Outdoor … [Read more...]

Chiefs wrap up Super Bowl season

Through 38 years of organized youth tackle football, the 2016 fall varsity season will go down as one of the Lutz Chiefs’ most dominant ever. They went 14-1. They were crowned Tampa Bay Youth Football League (TBYFL) Super Bowl champs. And, they won “The Battle of the Bay,” toppling the best Pinellas County had to offer. All told, it was a remarkable year for the Chiefs … [Read more...]

Record 3-point shooter adds new challenges

Justin Dargahi, a record-holding three-point shooter, has added a few new challenges for 2016 and beyond. First: Turn around the struggling Gaither High girls varsity basketball program. Next: Set the world record for most three pointers made by a pair, in one minute. Dargahi — the Guinness World Record for the most 3s made from NBA range (23 feet, 9 inches) in one minute (26) — first … [Read more...]

Area fall football preview: Hillsborough County

The 2016 high school football season is just around the corner, and several teams in The Laker/Lutz News’ Hillsborough County coverage area enter the year with intriguing storylines, standout players and must-see matchups. Carrollwood Patriots Coach: Lane McLaughlin (10th year) 2015 record: 7-4 Spring Game result: 14-7 loss to Victory Christian Freedom Patriots Coach: Floyd Graham (1st … [Read more...]

No more slow-pitch softball for Lutz Leaguerettes

After 37 years, the Lutz Leaguerettes girls’ softball organization has discontinued its slow-pitch leagues. The decision was made due to dwindling registration figures, and an overwhelming preference for fast-pitch, which was first introduced in the spring. A survey and questionnaire by players and parents showed a 92-to-4 vote in favor of fast-pitch over slow-pitch, said Mike Cook, … [Read more...]

He aims to make Gaither basketball ‘relevant’ again

The Gaither High School’s varsity boys basketball team hasn’t had a winning season since 2006, but new head coach Jose Jordan wants to change that losing trend. “We need to raise the expectations,” said Jordan, who is stepping into the new role after spending the past four seasons as the program’s junior varsity (JV) coach. Jordan replaces Dwayne Olinger, who resigned after 16 seasons — … [Read more...]

Steinbrenner pitcher makes national trial team

The accolades are piling up for Steinbrenner High School’s right-handed pitcher CJ Van Eyk. He’s led Steinbrenner to its first state baseball title. He’s been crowned the Florida Dairy Farmers’ Class 8A Player of the Year. And now, the rising senior has achieved another prestigious accomplishment: pitcher on the USA Baseball 18U National Trial team. Van Eyk, a Florida State commit, … [Read more...]