Chris Bernhardt Jr.

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A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper's sports coverage. For live updates follow on twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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Eagle, Leopard lifters share county crown

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Dominique Walker benched 315 pounds and finished with a meet-best 570 total in Wednesday's county meet at Weeki Wachee. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

iWEEKI WACHEE – Coming into Wednesday’s boys weightlifting county meet, there was much uncertainty about just which team was the county’s finest.
By the time things wrapped up in the Weeki Wachee gym, there remained plenty of confusion. In an unprecedented turn of events, both Hernando and Springstead tied atop the team standings with 64 points apiece.

Sports notebook: County wrestlers advance to states

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Josh Hulse collected a regional championship on Saturday, winning at 120 pounds as the Leopards finished second in 2A-2. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

A week after both collected district championships, both Hernando and Springstead’s wrestling teams had to tangle with state title contenders in Friday and Saturday’s regional meets.
With that in mind, each squad had to be satisfied with its performance and all four Hernando County programs will have some representation at the FHSAA Finals next weekend at Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena.

Palatka’s press proves Sharks undoing

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Jordan Baxter shoots a free throw against Central in Tuesday's regional semifinal. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

PALATKA – As his players filed out of a postgame locker room one last time, Nature Coast boys basketball head coach Dave Pisarcik made it clear he saw this season as a success.
There was no shame in what the Sharks had accomplished, going undefeated in the regular season and advancing to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in eight seasons.

Sharks gain ‘sweet’ redemption over Bears

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Kaine McColley shoots a free throw in Tuesday night's regional semifinal at Central. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – A week and a half earlier, Nature Coast experienced the only blemish on its season at the hands of county-rival Central.
Nothing will ever capture the district championship for the Sharks, but in a rematch in Tuesday night’s Class 6A, Region 2 boys basketball semifinal, they certainly made up for their one loss of 2016-17.
In front of a boisterous, standing-room-only crowd witnessing perhaps the most meaningful intercounty contest in Hernando County history, Nature Coast gained sweet redemption in the Sweet 16 with a 70-48 victory.

Sports notebook: Eagle, Leopard wrestlers earn district titles

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead Richie Rivera (blue and white) was among the Eagles' eight district champions on Saturday. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

For so many years, the idea of Springstead’s wrestlers capturing a district championship seemed like a foregone conclusion.
But after seeing its streak of 11 straight titles come to end last year, and dealing with a tumultuous coaching situation prior to this season, the Eagles were a considerable question mark when this campaign began.
On Saturday, though, Springstead put all that in the rearview mirror, collecting its 30th district crown with a first-place finish in the Class 2A, District 5 Tournament at Citrus.

Central rallies late, heads to Sweet 16 vs. Sharks

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Caleb Johnson dribbles down the court in Thursday night's game against Ridgewood. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Central High had waited 20 years to see its boys basketball team host a regional playoff game.
Appropriate, then, that at times Thursday night it felt as though the home fans were producing two decades worth of noise.
In front of a large and often deafening crowd, the Bears mounted a furious rally in the final 3:30 of the fourth quarter in their Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinal, erasing a seven-point deficit and knocking off visiting Ridgewood, 78-74.

Lady Eagles, Hornets go down in semis

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead guard Reagan Huden dribbles down the court during Tuesday's regional semifinal against Sunlake. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

WESLEY CHAPEL – Springstead’s girls basketball team found itself in uncharted territory Tuesday night, making its first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16.
But the opponent was far from unfamiliar, even if the game was in an unusual location. The Lady Eagles faced Sunlake for the fourth time this season, a team they had split with in the regular season before losing to the Lady Seahawks in the district final, 62-54.

Sports notebook: Gray tabbed as new headman for Hornets

Photo provided

Jacob Gray

For the first time in its history, the Weeki Wachee football program will have a new man at the helm and this week the school officially announced the hiring of Jacob Gray as head coach.
The 25-year-old Gray was plucked off the coaching staff of Jacksonville-Bolles, where he served as special teams coordinator for the Class 4A state runner-up Bulldogs.

Central stuns Sharks for district crown

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central celebrates with the district championship trophy on Friday night at Citrus High. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

INVERNESS – When Central won its boys basketball district semifinal over Citrus on Wednesday night, head coach Matt Zandecki guaranteed one thing for Friday night’s final: his Bears would not be intimidated.
At that moment, it may have sounded like blind optimism. But by the end of the Class 6A, District 7 championship game at Citrus High, those words proved prophetic.

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