Former Wesley Chapel hoops star in NCAA Tournament

One of the greatest prep basketball players in Pasco County history now gets to showcase his skills before millions of viewer’s in the NCAA Tournament this week. Wesley Chapel High product Erik Thomas, a 6-foot-5 senior forward at the University of New Orleans, helped the Privateers punch a ticket to the Big Dance after downing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in overtime, 68-65, on March 11 in the … [Read more...]

Hockey facility opens in Wesley Chapel

The wait to skate is over. Following about 2 1/2 years of construction, Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel has opened its doors. The 150,500-square-foot, two-story complex, at 3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd., is off Interstate 75 at the State Road 56 interchange in Wesley Chapel. The facility had its “soft” opening on Jan. 26, where more than 300 people turned out for the first … [Read more...]

Sophomore paces Wharton boys cross-country

Wharton High School’s Tre Rivers is quietly making a name for himself as one of the state’s top distance runners. And, he’s just a sophomore. On Nov. 5, Rivers placed ninth in the Class 4A FHSAA Cross Country Finals at Appalachia Regional Park, crossing the finish line in 16:16.09, a 5K personal record and the fastest time of any Hillsborough County runner at the state meet. “It was a … [Read more...]

Freedom golf reaches 3A state tourney

For the second time in school history, the Freedom High varsity boys golf team has reached the state tournament. Collectively strong postseason performances were enough to earn an FHSAA 3A tournament berth, the program’s first since 2013. The Patriots captured their fourth consecutive district title on Oct. 10, and followed up with a second-place regional finish on Oct. 17 at Lansbrook Golf … [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...]

Wesley Chapel’s first-year coach finds early football success

If the first four games are any indication, the Wesley Chapel High School Wildcats are on pace to have their first winning season since 2011. Beyond that, the Wildcats (4-0)—the lone undefeated team in Pasco County— have the makings of a team capable of finding triumphs not seen since the early ‘00s, when the team was coached by John Castelamare. The Wildcats went a combined 35-8 from … [Read more...]

‘Baseball Ranch’ opens in Wesley Chapel

A new baseball and softball performance academy has sprung up in Wesley Chapel. The RockStar Baseball & Softball Ranch, which had its grand opening on Sept. 10, is owned and operated by Ryan Pryor, a former varsity assistant coach at Bishop McLaughlin and Wiregrass Ranch high schools. Situated on a five-acre property off of Old Pasco Road and Hadlock Drive, the indoor/outdoor ranch … [Read more...]

Freedom golf seeks a fourth district crown

The expectations are high once again for the Freedom High School boys golf team, as it enters the 2016 campaign seeking its fourth consecutive Class 3A-District 10 title. If it pulls off the noteworthy feat, it would Freedom’s first sports team to win four consecutive district championships. Armed with the district’s past two individual medalists in senior Tyler Bray and junior Cy Storlien, … [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...]

Area fall football preview: Pasco County

The 2016 high school football season is just around the corner and several teams in our coverage area enter the year with intriguing storylines, standout players and must-see matchups. Pasco Pirates Coach: Tom McHugh (9th year) 2015 Record: 4-6 Spring Game result: 40-6 loss against Wiregrass Ranch Land O’ Lakes Gators Coach: Brian Wachtel (6th year) 2015 Record: 3-7 Spring Game result: … [Read more...]