High School Blitz


Oak Hall standout Danny Stirt has accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Duke.

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Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 11:28 p.m.

FIVE THINGS OF NOTE IN AREA SPORTS

*Danny Stirt, who played pretty much every position on the Oak Hall football team and was a first-team all-area utility player for 2012, has accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Duke. Stirt, who has consistently been one of the area's best kickers and punters, was the only kicker the Blue Devils recruited. He is also a member of the 13-1 Eagles boys lacrosse team, which opens district tournament play next week.



*Rose Burke, who helped lead Gainesville High to consecutive Class 4A state titles in volleyball (2003-2004), was recently named head volleyball coach at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Burke, a setter who was a four-year starter at California State, had been an assistant at FIU and Morgan State. During that two-year run at GHS, under coach Cindy Boulware, the ‘Canes were 62-2.

*Columbia, 19-4 and ranked No. 5 in the latest Miracle Sports poll for Class 6A, recently won the Doc 4 Life Varsity Gold Division at North Marion during spring break. The Tigers played four ranked teams in three days, beating Hernando (15-2), host North Marion (5-3), Ponte Vedra (2-1) and Naples (7-6) for the championship. Three of Columbia's losses have been against Gainesville teams, one at Buchholz and twice to P.K. Yonge.

*Buchholz boys soccer player Griffin Howard, a 2012 and 2013 Sun Big School all-area selection as a defender, has committed to Oglethorpe University. The Bobcats reached the state final four for the first time and ended the season ranked No. 2 in Florida and No. 5 in the nation by MaxPreps.

*The P.K. Yonge baseball program celebrates senior night starting at 6:15 p.m. today, with the final regular-season home game following against Eastside at 7 p.m.

THURSDAY'S TENNIS REGIONAL FINALS

Admission: Free

GIRLS

Who: Belleview at Eastside (Northside Park, 4 p.m.)

What: Region 3-2A

How they got here: Eastside def. Brooksville Hernando 6-1 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Belleview def. Dade City Pasco 4-3.

What's next: Winner will advance to the Class 2A state tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry, April 17-19.

Passing shots: These two schools battled it out a week ago in Crystal River for the District 5 title, with the Rams dominating, winning every match except No. 2 doubles, to claim the league title. Freshman Emily Louie-Meadors and junior Alexandra Sourakov, Eastside's No. 1 and 2 singles and No. 1 doubles tandem, haven't given up a game in claiming singles and doubles titles at district and the regional semifinals. The Rams haven't reached state since 2005, when they finished fourth in 3A. The visiting Rattlers won their first regional match on Tuesday and are vying for their first state tournament berth.

Who: P.K. Yonge at Jacksonville Episcopal (3 p.m.)

What: Region 2-1A

How they got here: P.K. Yonge def. Jacksonville Trinity Christian 5-2 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Episcopal def. Oak Hall 4-3.

What's next: Winner advances to Monday's Class 1A state tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

Passing shots: The Blue Wave are looking for their third state tournament berth in four years and face the Eagles for the second straight year and fourth time since 2008 in the regional finals. Prior to 2012's 5-2 win over Episcopal, P.K. Yonge dropped its two previous meetings with Episcopal (2008 and 2009). A year ago, the Blue Wave finished third at 1A state as a team and Jazz Whitaker won the No. 1 singles title in team competition. Episcopal pulled out the regional semifinal victory over Oak Hall, highlighted by a 10-8 tie-breaker triumph in the third set in No. 1 doubles.

BOYS

Who: Ocala Forest at Gainesville (Northeast Park, 3:30 p.m.)

What: Region 3-3A

How they got here: Gainesville def. New Port Richey Mitchell 7-0 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Forest def. Spring Hill Springstead 4-3.

What's next: Winner advances to Monday's Class 3A state tournament at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

Passing shots: The host Hurricanes, strong state contenders after finishing third at last year's Class 3A state tourney, beat District 5 rival Forest 5-2 in their only head-to-head meeting in Ocala in February. Gainesville dominated the district tournament a week ago at Jonesville Tennis Center, winning four of the five singles matches and both doubles. In that tourney, GHS's top three players — Zach Goldberg, Cole Fiegel and Pete Slaton — gave up just two games combined in their wins in singles. The Wildcats are making their first regional final appearance.

Who: Dade City Pasco at Eastside (Jonesville Tennis Center, 3:30 p.m.)

What: Region 3-2A

How they got here: Eastside def. Brooksville Nature Coast 7-0 in Tuesday's regional semifinals; Pasco def. Belleview 7-0.

What's next: Winner will advance to the Class 2A state tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry, April 17-19.

Passing shots: This is the fourth straight season Eastside has reached the regional finals, placing sixth at 2A state last year and fourth in 2010. This is a regional final rematch with Pasco, which lost 7-0 in its first meeting against the Rams last year. Eastside's top three singles players — Hyunsoo Joo, Samuel Cockey and Camille Kima — are freshman, freshman, sophomore. The Pirates, who prior to last year hadn't been in the playoffs, are looking for their first state tournament berth.

DISTRICT 5-1A TRACK & FIELD MEET

When: Today

Where: Oak Hall (field events start at noon; running event finals start at 6 p.m.)

Schools participating: Bell, Bronson, Cedar Key, Hawthorne, Lafayette, Oak Hall, P.K. Yonge, Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian, St. Francis

Admission: $6

Defending champions: Girls, Oak Hall (broke P.K. Yonge's 5-year reign last year); Boys, P.K. Yonge (won last 11 straight district titles).

Regional qualifications: For athletes to qualify for regionals on April 18 in Orlando they must finish in the top four individually or in relays.

Top entries: Girls-Brittney Olinger, Oak Hall; Grace Blair, Oak Hall; Lauren Perry, Oak Hall; Brooke Allen, Cedar Key; Lauren Bartholemy, Cedar Key; Boys-Joseph Janson, P.K. Yonge; Garrett Westlake, P.K. Yonge; Josh Johnson, P.K. Yonge; Austin Perry, Oak Hall; Kevin Carswell, Cedar Key.

Attention coaches

Please call in your box scores (baseball, girls softball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys track and field, and boys weightlifting) to 352-374-5050 each night by 10:30. Coaches can email results to sports@gainesvillesun.com but should first email or call high school sports editor Larry Savage about the proper format when emailing. His email address is larry.savage@gvillesun.com and phone number is 352-374-5050.

Call in your athlete of the week nominations on Sundays between 4-7 p.m. Email weekly statistics to Paul Kardasz at kardasp@sunwriters.com.

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