Weeki Wachee

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sharks send Hornets home in semis

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Vinny Stulec battles for possession in the middle of several Weeki Wachee players in the Coaches Cup final on Jan. 14. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

DADE CITY – It took a decade for the Nature Coast boys soccer program to find success. Now, the Sharks have made it a habit.
For the fourth consecutive season, they’re headed to the regional playoffs. That much was assured on Wednesday with a victory over Weeki Wachee in the Class 3A, District 7 semifinals at Pasco, 4-2.

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.

Springstead, Weeki Wachee go down in semis

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Sasha Garcia, right, battles with Wesley Chapel's Raegan Bourne for control of the ball on Wednesday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

WEEKI WACHEE – The Hernando County girls soccer season came to an early close, as the last two local squads alive went down in the Class 3A, District 7 semifinals on Wednesday night.
Still, both teams seemed more upbeat than not with the way their seasons played out considering their respective circumstances.
In the early match at Weeki Wachee, third-seeded Springstead took second-seeded Wesley Chapel to overtime before losing, 2-1. The host Lady Hornets followed with a 6-1 loss to top seed Pasco.

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