High School Blitz


Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 8:09 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 8:09 a.m.

5 Things of Note in Area High School Sports

*Former Gainesville High School guard Greg Gantt, now at Florida Atlantic, was named a Mid-Major Freshman All-American by Collegeinsider.com. Instead of listing first, second and third teams, Collegeinsider.com named 20 freshman to its team. Gantt averaged 15.6 points and set a school freshman record with 85 three-pointers made.

*P.K. Yonge sophomore guard Niya Johnson has been invited to the USA 17-under national tryouts in Colorado Springs from Aug. 8-14. Johnson already has interest from major colleges across the nation, according to Blue Wave coach Willie Powers. Also, her P.K. Yonge teammate Tiaunshe' Brown, who will sign with Indian River on April 15, broke her wrist in the Blue Wave's state semifinal victory against Miramar Parkway. She played on with some swelling, but no complaints, as P.K. Yonge won the FHSAA Class 2A state title.

*When Santa Fe High School's Joey DiNardo needs pitching advice, he's got the good fortune of being able to call up someone who has played in the Major Leagues: his older brother, Lenny, a member of the Oakland A's system. "We talk after he starts and after I start," Joey said. "We talk about pitching and mechanics, he helps me out just like a brother would."

*The Williston at Gainesville baseball game today at 4:30 p.m. will air on 95.7 FM.

*Georgia Tech has made some nice inroads with Buchholz athletics. Current Yellow Jackets' offensive lineman Sean Bedford went from walk-on to All-ACC, and freshman libero Nicki Meyer is a big part of the volleyball team's future plans. Georgia Tech also has surfaced as one of the early leaders for Bobcat senior-to-be Ryan Thomas (6-foot-4, 270 pounds), also an offensive lineman, according to his mother, Jane.

ATHLETES OF THE DECADE

Throughout the 2009-10 school year, The Sun will be unveiling its athletes and teams of the decade. This week is the boys weightlifter and boys weightlifting team of the decade.

Those eligible to win must have graduated in the classes from 2000 to 2009 (teams can have participated August-December of 1999).

Previously announced were: C.J. Spiller, Union County (football player) & 1999 Suwannee (football team); Marcie Hampton, P.K. Yonge (volleyball player) & 2003 Gainesville (volleyball team); Adam Bastak, Gainesville (boys swimmer/diver) & 2002 GHS (boys swimming & diving team); Jamie Bohunicky, Buchholz (girls swimmer/diver) & 2002 Buchholz (girls swimming & diving team); Hilary White, Eastside/Buchholz (girls cross country) & 2005 Buchholz (girls cross country team); Michael Anderson, P.K. Yonge (boys cross country) & 2003 Buchholz (boys cross country team); Bobby Gates, Buchholz (boys golfer) & 2003 Buchholz (boys golf team); Tiffany Prats, Williston (girls golf) & 2000 Buchholz (girls golf team); Celeste Gomez, Columbia (girls weightlifter) & 2004 Keystone Heights (girls weightlifting team); Nick Davis, Gainesville (wrestler); 2006 Suwannee (wrestling team); Emily Dowd, Gainesville (girls soccer); 2000 Buchholz (girls soccer team); Rob Sausaman, Buchholz (boys soccer player), 2001 P.K. Yonge (boys soccer team); Natalie Land, Lafayette (girls basketball player); 2004-05 Eastside (girls basketball team); 1999-2000 Gainesville (boys basketball team); Orien Greene (boys basketball).

BOYS WEIGHTLIFTER OF THE DECADE

Jonathan Garcia, Palatka High School

One of the most accomplished weightlifters in area history, Garcia wore a Superman t-shirt to meets during his junior and senior seasons. The 4-foot-11 Garcia no doubt lived up to the "S" on his chest and the nickname his friends had given him. After placing fourth at the FHSAA Class 2A state finals as a freshman in 2004 (420-pound total) and a sophomore in 2005 (450 total), Garcia told Palatka coach Gordon Roberts that he didn't want to be fourth anymore. He wasn't, as he captured a pair of state championships in record breaking fashion during his final two prep seasons and also twice earned The Sun's weightlifter of the year award and the Florida Dairy Farmers Boys Weightlifter of the Year award. As a junior, Garcia set two state finals records en route to winning the 119-pound weight class. He bench pressed 260 pounds, before he clean and jerked a record 245 pounds for a record total weight of 505 pounds. The following season, at the 129-pound weight class he bench pressed 285 pounds, before he clean and jerked a record 275 pounds for a record total weight of 560 pounds. Garcia also led the Panthers to the 2007 FHSAA Class 2A state championship. Both sets of Garcia's records are still in tact.

Following his high school graduation, he was invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Garcia also became a 2008 National Junior Champion, but a family situation forced Garcia to return to Palatka.

"He is a workaholic, he was driven like no other athlete I have ever seen. You are just fortunate as a coach to have someone like that. You didn't realize he was 4-foot-11 because he is a much bigger man than that."- Gordon Roberts on Garcia.

BOYS WEIGHTLIFTING TEAM OF THE DECADE

2000 Palatka High School

Palatka was the only area school that took home an FHSAA state championship in boys weightlifting between 2000 and 2009. The Panthers won a pair of titles, taking the Class 1A crown in 2000 and the 2A championship in 2007. But the 2000 squad, which qualified 14 lifters (just one short of the maximum allowed) for the state finals, gets the nod. Coach Darrell Polite, the 1990 and 1991 3A heavyweight state champ, guided his alma mater to the title with 32 points. Williston finished as the runner up with 17 points at the meet (which was hosted by Bell High School). Larnell Boykin posted a 750-pound total to win the heavyweight class, while James Hill was tops in the 219-pound class with a 660 total. With two individual state champions, the Panthers also had two lifters finish as state runners up. Elysha Campbell was second at 169 with a 560 total, and Kedrick Session also placed second at 183 with a 590 total. At 199 Charles McCoy placed fourth with a 590 total, with Christopher Albert fifth at 119 with a 365 total. Andrew Hill was also fifth at 139 as he posted a 445 total. Bill Fells finished sixth at heavyweight with a 640 total, as the Panthers had eight of their 14 state-meet qualifiers score points by placing in the top six in each class. Other state qualifiers for PHS that season were Jordan Dollar (119), Farshawn Pinkston (169, and also a state champion wrestler), Cedric Wright (183), Charles Bates (199), Gary Phelps (238) and John Treadwell (238).

-Cliff Olsen

SOFTBALL POLL

Miracle Sports State Softball Poll

All Classification Poll

1. Dunnellon

2. Naples

3. Timber Creek

4. Bartow

5. Bartram Trail

6. American Heritage

7. East Lake

8. Bolles

9. Winter Springs

10. Gulliver Prep

CLASS 6A

1. Timber Creek-14-0

2. Winter Springs-13-3

3. Jupiter-14-2

4. Palm Beach Central-13-2

5. Tampa Plant-11-2

6. Lake Howell-16-3

7. West Orange 11-2

8. East Ridge-14-2

9. Palm Beach Gardens 13-4

10.Cooper City 11-4

also receiving votes: Orange Park-14-2, Vero Beach-13-1, Fletcher-10-3, Boone 12-4, South Lake 9-3, Taravella 11-2, West Broward 12-5, Palmetto 11-5, Douglas 8-2, University-10-4,

Centennial 10-5, Park Vista-13-4, McArthur 11-2

CLASS 5A

1. Bartow-8-1

2. East Lake-12-1

3. Niceville-9-0

4. Lake Wales-14-4

5. Pinellas Park-13-2

6. St. Thomas Aquinas-11-3

7. Chamberain 10-2

8. Auburndale-7-3

9. Ocala Forest-8-1

10. Columbia-10-2

also receiving votes: Dwyer-12-5, Palm Harbor Univ. 12-2, Wellington 9-3, Sebastian River 12-4, Viera 13-5, Osceola (Kissimmee) 12-5, Fort Walton Beach 9-2, Sickles 11-4, Newsome 10-3

CLASS 4A

1. Dunnellon-11-0

2. Naples-10-1

3. Bartram Trail-12-1

4. Lakewood Ranch-13-1-1

5. North Fort Myers-12-1-1

6. Eau Gallie-15-3

7. Riverdale-12-4

8. Mitchell-8-0

9. Okeechobee-15-4

10.Space Coast 13-2

also receiving votes: Cardinal Gibbons 11-2, Archbishop Mcarthy 9-4, Braden River 13-3, Gulf Breeze 9-5, Bellview 10-2, Eustis 14-1, West Florida 10-4, Steinbrenner 12-2, Pasco 6-2, Titusville 13-3, River Ridge 10-1, Palmetto Ridge-9-4, Pembroke Pines 9-4, Mariner 8-1, Jensen Beach 10-5

CLASS 3A

1. Plantation American Heritage-15-0

2. Bolles-9-1

3. Gulliver Prep-10-1

4. Florida High-10-0

5. St. Pete Catholic-10-3

6. Santa Fe-14-1

7. Mulberry-10-2

8. Williston-10-3

9. Ocala Trinity Catholic-8-2

10. Tampa Catholic-11-3

also receiving votes: Bishop Snyder 10-5, Satellite 11-5, West Nassau 10-5, McKeel Academy N/A, University(Ft. Laud.) 7-1, Keystone Heights 7-3, University School (Ft. Laud.) 9-4

CLASS 2A

1. Miami Westminster Christian-12-2

2. Florida Christian-11-6

3. Jacksonville Providence-11-3

4. Delray Beach American Heritage -11-2

5. Pine Castle Christian-10-2

6. Mount Dora Bible-11-4

7. Lakeland Christian-9-1

8. Jacksonville Trinity Christian 11-3

9. Trinity Prep-5-3

10. Northside Christian-11-1

also receiving votes: Pierson-Taylor 14-2, N. Florida Chr. 6-2, P.K. Yonge 10-4, John Carroll 9-5, Glades Day-4-2, Northview 14-0, Calvary Chr. (Ft. Laud.) 10-4-1, Lafayette 5-4, Chiefland 10-1, Ft. Lauderdale Christian 5-3

CLASS 1A

1. Jacksonville Eagle's View-9-3

2. Canterbury-9-2

3. Trinity Christian Academy-6-2 (Deltona)

4. Lake Mary Prep-4-3

5. Lake Worth Chr.-5-4

6. Berean Christian- 7-2

7. Highlands Christian-10-3

8. CFCA-8-5

9. Aucilla Christian-3-2

10.Grandview Prep-12-4

also receiving votes: Sheridan Hills 8-4, Wellington Christian 5-3, Hollywood Christian 10-4, Hernando Christian 6-2, Miami Christian 10-3, Faith Christian 3-1

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