Central

College signings spread out across the county

Photos provided

Springstead softball shortstop Abby Oliver with principal Carmine Rufa during her signing with Warner University. Photo provided

Back in February, Central’s football team dominated National Signing Day with four football players officially inking with college programs.
That quartet included the state’s leading rusher, De’Vonta Smith (Division I Appalachian State), defensive back Dominique Walker (D-I Florida Championship Subdivision FAMU), linebacker Josh Rivera (D-II Lincoln University in Pennsylvania) and safety Sam Garner (NAIA Webber International).
Those were far from the only signings among the six county schools, however, and they weren’t the only signees from Central, either.

Rivera’s state title school year’s top story

Springstead 113-pounder Richie Rivera finishes off a takedown against Lleyton Taylor of Riverdale in their quarterfinal match in Class 2A state meet action. Rivera won 5-0. Photo by Matt Pfiffner/Citrus Chronicle

With the school year coming to a close in Hernando County, the time has come to reflect back on the 2016-17 prep sports season.
Success was spread out, with all six FHSAA-sanctioned schools boasting at least one district championship team, and the county had an Elite Eight squad in all three seasons, fall, winter and spring.
Here are the top three stories from the past 10 months of action:
1. Rivera overcomes adversity for state crown

Zena’s four TDs lead Bears to spring win

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Cental quarterback Izzy Zena tries to elude the grasp of Hudson's Dominick Rutigliano. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Last time Central played a football game, the Bears were absorbing a season-ending 50-12 loss to Hudson in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl and the ending of the prep career of De’Vonta Smith.
More than six month later, on Thursday night, Central was once again looking at the Cobras on the opposing sideline, but the outcome was far different. Behind 265 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground by quarterback Izzy Zena, the host Bears capped their spring with a 35-14 exhibition victory.

Sports notebook: Springstead rallies for district repeat

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead catcher Paige Pfent had the game-winning single in Thursday's 6A-6 final. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Suffice to say, Springstead’s softball team’s road to a repeat district championship hit a significant speed bump halfway through Thursday night’s Class 6A, District 6 final.
Host Crystal River had shown it could stand up to the once top-ranked Lady Eagles a few weeks earlier, holding on for a 2-1 win at Springstead’s home field on April 4.
This time around, the Lady Pirates built a 4-0 advantage through the top of the fourth, but couldn’t stave off the top seed, who rallied to tie it up twice and eventually pulled out a 7-6 victory in eight innings.

Sports notebook: Sharks double up on track district titles

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast senior Kaitlyn Pierce won the 400 meter (1:04.88), came in second in the triple jump (33-1) and placed third in the 200 (27.98) in Friday's district meet. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

District championships have become a tradition for the Nature Coast track and field team, and nothing changed on Friday at Anclote High.
Both the boys and girls defended their Class 2A, District 7 crowns, the Lady Sharks tallying 199 points to far outdistance second-place Weeki Wachee (108), while their male counterparts totaled 159, well ahead of Zephryhills with 116.

Sports notebook: Springstead softball ramps up competition

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead, led by pitcher Kama Woodall, took on two other ranked softball teams this past week. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

As a team with Final Four aspirations, Springstead softball can’t be accused by anyone of playing a soft schedule.
The Lady Eagles, ranked fourth in this week’s Miracle Sports state poll for Class 6A, took on the No. 1 team in 2A, Academy at the Lakes in Land O’ Lakes, on Monday and suffered a 4-0 loss.
After dusting 6A-District 6 foe Lecanto the next night, 12-2, behind home runs by Kayla Cruz, Paige Pfent and Kama Woodall, Springstead (19-3 overall, 8-2 6A-6) knocked off Belleview, which came into the week ranked fifth in 6A, 3-1 on Thursday night.

Sports notebook: Central lifter Walker earns state medal

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Dominique Walker placed fifth at states on Saturday, earning a medal at 199 pounds. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Two Hernando County lifters competed in Saturday’s Class 1A FHSAA Finals, and one left DeLand High with a medal in hand.
Central senior Dominique Walker placed fifth at 199 pounds, benching 325 pounds and putting up 265 in the clean-and-jerk for a 590 total. All were personal bests.
“It means a lot to get to states and then to place at states,” Walker said. “I put in the work at home with my dad and it showed today. It’s a blessing to go out in my high school career like this and now I can get ready for college football.”

Sports notebook: Springstead softball maintains top ranking

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's senior Kama Woodall has led the Lady Eagles at the plate and on the mound this season. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead’s softball has been holding down the top spot in the Miracle Sports state softball rankings for Class 6A, and the Lady Eagles looked the part in two shutout district wins this past week.
On Tuesday, Springstead (16-1 overall, 7-1 6A-District 6) defeated Citrus, 7-0. Delaney Woodall went 2-for-4 with a run and two runs batted in, while Kayla Cruz and Kama Woodall each were 2-for-4 with one RBI. Paige Pfent was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Kama Woodall, who also doubled, threw a 1-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

Springstead tops Central for first Farm Bureau title

Springstead's Kevin Tomas pitches against Central in Friday night's Farm Bureau Classic final. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – When Kevin Tomas arrived at Central’s baseball field for Friday night’s Farm Bureau Classic final, the Springstead junior didn’t know he’d be tapped to take the start.
It was hard to tell considering the way he pitched against the host Bears, as he struck out 10 over five solid innings and protected an early lead, allowing the Eagles to win this annual tournament for the first time, 4-2.

Sports notebook: County baseball teams stay busy over break

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Dominic Marrone gets ready for a pitch in Wednesday's game against Nature Coast. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

With Hernando County public schools out for spring break this week, the sports schedule was relatively lite outside of Friday and Saturday’s Leopard Slam softball tournament.
Yet the county’s baseball teams still kept busy, all playing multiple games throughout the week.

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