Schools end unusual year on high note

Normal end-of-the-school year traditions were out this year, due to COVID-19, so schools put on their thinking caps to find new ways to honor and celebrate the students. Sand Pine Elementary School, in Wesley Chapel, held its Fifth Grade Moving Up Ceremony, in the school’s parking lot. After a parade through the school’s parking loop, each fifth-grader’s name was written in chalk on a … [Read more...]

This teen strikes out batters — and cancer

Jack Teeter was well on his way to another standout baseball season for Academy at the Lakes (AATL), up until the COVID-19 pandemic canceled virtually all sporting events. The All-State athlete was leading the team with a .500 batting average through nine games. He hadn’t allowed an earned run in 14 innings pitched. In the de facto final game of the season on March 12, the 6-foot-3, … [Read more...]

Cancellation of spring sports leaves many dejected

There was at least a glimmer of hope the 2020 Florida high school spring sports season would resume, even amid concerns about coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). But, optimism vanished when the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) on April 20 announced it would cancel all FHSAA-affiliated events. The cancellations include the state series and championships events, for spring … [Read more...]

Coronavirus cancels many sports events

As fears regarding coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) continue to ramp up, so do cancellations on the sports landscape — nationally, regionally and locally. The unexpected cancellations began on March 10 when The Ivy League, a Division I collegiate athletic conference comprised of private schools in the Northeast, announced the cancellation of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, … [Read more...]

Top 2019 sports moments

Teams captured state titles and local athletes turned in outstanding performances, during a year that brought shining moments and countless lasting memories. Here is a look at some of the top moments in sports, from across The Laker/Lutz News coverage area: Zephyrhills High names ‘Alan Reed Court’ Little more than a year after naming its football field after legendary coach Tom Fisher, … [Read more...]

Locals finish strong at state swim meet

Several local schools and individuals in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area put up solid showings at the 2019 FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) state swimming and diving championships, held last month at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center, in Stuart. A total of eight area schools were represented across all four classifications —  Academy at the Lakes (Class 1A), … [Read more...]

Prep football midseason review

The 2019 Florida high school football regular season has reached the midway point. Here’s a closer look at how teams and players are faring from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. Perfect performers At the midway mark, there are three programs sporting undefeated records — Academy at the Lakes, Gaither and Steinbrenner. What do each have in common? Potent offenses backed by efficient, … [Read more...]

Local softball stars soak in national exposure

It’s a rare feat when any local athlete — or any athlete for that matter — makes a national team. More uncommon is when two athletes from the same hometown earn such prestigious designation together. But, that’s what recently happened to Academy at the Lakes product Lexi Kilfoyl and Land O’ Lakes High School product Callie Turner. Both pitchers earned state champions for their … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes football aims for third state crown

The Academy at the Lakes (AATL) Wildcats varsity football team undoubtedly feels it has a target on its back in 2019. And, why not, when you consider the team has won 20 consecutive games en route to back-to-back eight-man state titles in 2017 and 2018. But, it’s something the team is used to of late, players insist, even back to when the program was mired through three straight losing … [Read more...]

AATL gets new softball coach

Coming off back-to-back state titles, the Academy at the Lakes Wildcats varsity softball team will have a new face leading the successful program. Wildcats coach Diane Stephenson stepped down after the 2019 season to accept a position closer to her home at St. Petersburg’s Admiral Farragut Academy. A two-time Class 2A Softball Coach of the Year, Stephenson posted a 65-14 mark in three seasons … [Read more...]