Sports Feature

Woodall paces Lady Eagles in Leopard Slam

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead pitcher Kama Woodall throws to first base to record an out in Saturday night's Leopard Slam final versus Nature Coast. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Kama Woodall’s first run-scoring single in Saturday night’s Leopard Slam final wasn’t exactly a hard-hit smash. But that would be an apt description for the second time she drove home a teammate.
As she normally does, the Springstead senior made headlines with her arm over the two-day tournament at Tom Varn Park. But she also made an impact with the bat, and has all season.

Springstead’s Rivera wins ‘amazing’ state title

Photography by Matt Pfiffner/Citrus Chronicle

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

Capturing a wrestling state championship requires an incredible amount of mental fortitude all by itself.
But under the circumstances Springstead senior Richie Rivera faced during the Class 2A FHSAA Finals at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, his accomplishment of placing first at 113 pounds had his coach Bob Levija repeating one word over and over.
“It was amazing,” Levija said. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced, that he could stay that focused and wrestled the way he did.
“He wrecked everybody. He was just really on.”

Johnson takes control as Central seeks playoff success

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Caleb Johnson fights for control of the ball against Nature Coast's Robert McAfee, left, and Jordan Baxter. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Central’s boys basketball team has gone 12 seasons without advancing to the regional playoffs. Caleb Johnson spent the previous two attempting to carve out his niche in the Bears’ starting lineup.
For Johnson, there has been no questioning his role this season, as the junior guard leads the Bears in scoring by a wide margin, averaging 21.1 points per game coming into this week.
Whether Central can move past the district tournament for the first time since 2004 will be answered soon enough, but the Bears (12-8) have locked up the second seed in Class 6A, District 7.

Hornets’ Cromie enters college football

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Weeki Wachee quarterback Alec Cromie signs his full scholarship with Tennessee-based Tusculum College on Wednesday. He was joined by, from left, girlfriend Arianna Doyle, mother Alice Mellecker and father Brett Cromie. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The school year may only be half over, but for Alec Cromie the next step has already arrived.

Now a Weeki Wachee High graduate, Cromie will spend the weekend settling into his new digs at Tusculum College in Tennessee. The top statistical quarterback in Hernando County history officially signed with the Division II school on Wednesday and has already arrived on campus.

Lady Lions rolling as second half approaches

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Senior guard Cayla Phillips leads HCA at 14.8 points, 4.8 steals and 18 3-pointers. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Last season, Hernando Christian Academy’s girls basketball team put together its finest campaign, reaching the Elite Eight for the first time in team history.
Could the Lady Lions possibly piece together an encore performance? So far, they certainly have. HCA is enjoying a three-week holiday break, sitting at a perfect 12-0.

Lady Hornets enjoying breakthrough season

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Freshman Reilley Bain leads Weeki Wachee with 13 goals and six assists. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Danny Fierro has a card on his fridge that his current seniors presented to him at the end of their sophomore season, his first as Weeki Wachee’s head girls soccer coach.
He recently sent those same players a photo of that card, and so he can recite what it said off the top of his head. They thanked him for being their coach, and believed “the longer we play for you, the better it will be.”

Sharks trounce Citrus for district repeat

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's T.J. Owens ran for 248 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Citrus on Friday. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Many doubted whether Nature Coast could even come close to matching its historic 2015 season without the services of the nation’s leading rusher, DeShawn Smith.
Though they still have a way to go to duplicate last year’s Elite Eight run, so far the Sharks have had no discernible backslide. There has been no falloff in the win column, and not much for their vaunted running attack, either.

Smith comes up clutch for Central

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Central's Jonathan Allion reaches out to make sure the ball crosses the goal line Saturday versus Citrus. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – It would seem odd that a player who rushed for over 400 yards and five touchdowns would be in a position to gain redemption on the game’s final drive.
Yet that’s where Central senior De’Vonta Smith found himself on Saturday late in the fourth quarter. He rushed for 335 yards and four scores in the first half, as the host Bears were running away from Citrus, up 34-7.
Then he fumbled three times in the second half, the Hurricanes scored 27 unanswered points, and somehow the game was tied with 4:54 remaining.

Winding Waters’ Hughes invited to bowl game

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Michael Hughes of Winding Waters attempts to catch a ball. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Two years ago, Michael Hughes had just begun playing football, a sixth-grader receiving fifth-quarter minutes on the Winding Waters K-8 junior varsity squad.
Now he’s performing well enough to earn accolades on a national level. The 14-year-old eighth-grader from Spring Hill attended an Offense-Defense Football Camp in Tampa over the summer. It went extremely well.

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