Wiregrass Ranch High’s event honors family’s memory
By Kyle LoJacono
The Wiregrass Ranch boys basketball program is making sure the memory of the Ulrich family is not forgotten.
Bulls coach Jeremy Calzone started the Ulrich Family Classic in 2010, a few months after Jeff and Ronni Ulrich, along with their children Carlie and Lexi, died in a single-engine airplane crash in Arizona while on a summer vacation. Carlie had just finished kindergarten at Seven Oaks Elementary, while Lexi would have been a senior at Wiregrass Ranch in the class of 2012.
“We started it because Lexi was a cheerleader and was a huge supporter of ours,” Calzone said. “She would always get the crowd energized, so when I heard what happened I went to her grandparents (Mikki and Stan Glantz) and asked if we could do something like this.”
The all-day event includes four basketball games. The Glantzs have attended the event the last two years. In 2011, the Bulls presented them with a basketball and T-shirt signed by the squad during a ceremony before Wiregrass Ranch’s contest.
“It’s really, I can only call it mind boggling that the school has continued to do this,” Stan said. “We were really happy when they told us that they were doing the event, but usually when things like this happen they’ll do it for a year or two, but coach Calzone has been amazing to keep it going, and the school has been great with their support. You don’t normally see that today.”
Calzone said he plans to keep the classic going every year.
“I want this to be the biggest event in Pasco County and for it to be something that teams all over the state want to be a part of,” Calzone said. “We’ve got teams from Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, and we have the Pasco teams playing either a team from Hillsborough or Pinellas in all of them. We have some really good teams again this year, so it will be an exciting day.”
The classic, which is Jan. 19, starts with a contest between East Lake vs. Land O’ Lakes at 3 p.m., followed by matchups of Bloomingdale vs. Ridgewood at 4:30 p.m., Freedom vs. Wesley Chapel at 6 p.m. and Clearwater Central Catholic vs. Wiregrass Ranch at 7:30 p.m.
The event also raises money for a scholarship in the Ulrich name. For every $5 admission ticket that is bought, $2 goes to the fund.
The $5 grants admission to all four games, and the concession stand will be open through the event.
“Lots of great basketball, and it’s all for a good cause,” Calzone said. “Can’t get much better than that.”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.