Hernando

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.

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.

Sports notebook: Lady Sharks repeat as state runners-up

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's girls weightlifting team celebrates with its district championship trophy and medals last month. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

On Friday, the Nature Coast girls weightlifting team traveled to Belleview for the Class 1A FHSAA Finals, and they didn’t return home empty-handed.
For the second year in a row, the Lady Sharks were the state runners-up, scoring 17 points to edge Lake Weir, the team that had defeated Nature Coast at regionals two weeks earlier, by one point. River Ridge was again state champion, scoring 29.

Sports notebook: Nature Coast hires new football coach

Photo provided

Cory Johns

A football team that has gone a combined 22-2 the past two seasons figured to draw plenty of interest for its head coaching vacancy.
No surprise then that Nature Coast received over 80 resumes for its opening this past month, which the school filled this week with the hiring of Kissimmee-Liberty headman Cory Johns.
“It was one of those opportunities I couldn’t pass up,” Johns said. “I’m not into bouncing around. I’m looking for a place to be for a very long time, or at least as long as they’ll keep me. This place looked like it.

Sports notebook: Lady Sharks take second in region

Photo provided

Nature Coast's Samantha Traudt, front, along with (standing from left) Kaitlyn Pierce, Coach Nikki Pierce and Jouie Miller celebrate the trio of lifters' first-place showings and the team's second-place finish at Saturday's regional meet. Photo provided

Nature Coast’s girl weightlifting team continued its march toward the state meet on Saturday, at the Class 1A, Region 5 Meet hosted by Belleview.
The Lady Sharks, hoping to compete for a state crown after finishing as the runners-up a year ago, took second in this meet to Ocala-Lake Weir, 38-42.

Lady Shark lifters earn district repeat

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's girls weightlifting team celebrates with its district championship trophy and medals after Wednesday's 1A-10 Meet at Weeki Wachee. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast’s girls weightlifting team has high aspirations this postseason, and took its first step toward achieving its goals on Wednesday.
The Lady Sharks, state runners-up in 2016, captured their second straight district championship, advancing a school-record 17 lifters to regionals and blowing away the rest of the field in the Class 1A, District 10 Meet at Weeki Wachee.

Sports notebook: Springstead basketball going strong

Boys basketball photo submitted, Girls basketball photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's boys basketball celebrates after winning the Springstead New Year's Shootout on Tuesday. Photo submitted

It has been a solid season for the Springstead boys and girls basketball teams, and they both got off to a strong start in 2017.
In the middle of the week, the boys held the second annual Springstead New Year’s Shootout, and the Eagles came away with a championship trophy.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, especially because we’re such a young team. We have five juniors and two sophomores playing bigtime minutes,” Springstead head coach Matthew McGarry said. “Any time you go into a tournament and win it, it’s good for the future.”

Eagles finish fourth in rugged home tourney

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Richie Rivera grabs Lake Gibson's Nathan Lawwell from behind during Saturday 113-pound final. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

SPRING HILL – By the high standards Springstead’s wrestling program has established over the decades, a fourth-place showing in its own tournament won’t stand out in the history books.
But considering the level of competition in this weekend’s Corey Hill Memorial Invite, the Eagles’ performance certainly ranks as respectable.

Lady Leopards finally win home tourney

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Ali Bronson handles the ball during Wednesday's Hernando Holiday Classic final against Weeki Wachee. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – For seven years Hernando girls basketball coach Kevin Bittinger has run the Hernando Holiday Classic. But Wednesday, as the three-day tournament came to an end, brought something new.
For the first time, the host Lady Leopards found themselves hoisting the championship trophy, as they knocked off county-rival Weeki Wachee in overtime of the championship game, 45-38.

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