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...]

Land O’ Lakes High undergoes $29 million makeover

When students arrive at Land O’ Lakes High School next week, they’ll see construction crews busy on a $29 million makeover that’s expected to take two years. But, great care is being taken to ensure that students and staff are kept out of the path of work crews, and vice versa, said John Petrashek, director of construction services for Pasco County Schools. During a recent tour of the … [Read more...]

Teen isn’t defined by rare disease

Remington Walls is just like any other 17-year-old. Except that he can’t eat food. Walls, a junior at Land O’ Lakes High School, suffers from a rare disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). Essentially, all food deteriorates his esophagus — and there is no cure. His only source of nutrition comes via a hypoallergenic amino acid-based liquid formula, called Neocate EO28 … [Read more...]

Awards keep coming for Land O’ Lakes student

When it comes to accomplishments, Maxwell William Keenan, or Max, for short, has racked up quite a few. The Land O’ Lakes High senior’s academic credentials are impressive. He ranks 14th out of 4,632 seniors in Pasco County. He’s a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. And, he achieved high marks on two leading college admissions tests, scoring a 34 out of a possible 36 on the … [Read more...]

Coach Kris Keppel exhibits grace to the end

The impact that Joel “Kris” Kristan Keppel’s life had on those who knew him was exhibited in all sorts of ways last week in Land O’ Lakes. Keppel, a revered cross-country coach at Land O’ Lakes High, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Jan. 25. Land O’Lakes High Principal Ric Mellin notified the school’s staff and students with this recorded message: “It is with a heavy heart … [Read more...]

In Print: There’s only one way, the Keppel Way

Kris Keppel is the last person who feels he deserves all the accolades he's received lately. While he had to retire as both a cross-country coach and a teacher for Land O' Lakes High School earlier this year because of his battle with pancreatic cancer, Keppel still has to admit, what he's done — and always has done — is inspire. And that's what he wants to keep on doing. "It's pretty … [Read more...]

Keppel ‘uncontested winner in our eyes,’ principal says

The community came together to vote for Kris Keppel, but in the end getting the most votes was just not enough for the Land O' Lakes High School cross-country coach as he just misses winning a national award. Instead, Brooks Running Co. named Renee Williams-Smith of Manhattan Beach, California, as its Inspiring Coach of the Year. Williams-Smith joined what was then a male-dominated … [Read more...]

These athletes are ready to take on the world

After claiming the gold at the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games in May, a group of athletes from Land O’ Lakes will trek to Los Angeles next summer to compete at the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games. The team got the word on July 21 via Skype during a surprise announcement in a mini-auditorium at Land O’ Lakes High School. Coach Vicky King corralled members of the team … [Read more...]