Periodically throughout the year, high school sports news can hit fast and furious. Amid softball district tournaments and the final games of baseball’s regular season, this was one of those weeks, so here’s a quick rundown.
Leon state runner-up
Entering Monday’s state tennis tournament, the Leon boys team knew it would have a tough challenge getting past traditional powerhouses. But the Lions also entered as strong as they had ever been.
Leon won a match at No. 2 singles (senior Brian Wilson), two matches at No. 3 singles (junior Drew Brown), two matches at No. 5 singles (junior Matt Stout, whose season win streak reached 30) and then one match at No. 1 doubles and two at No. 2 doubles.
“We helped each other out with everything this week,” senior No. 4 Brennan Abramowitz said.
“I rolled my ankle the day before the tournament and everyone helped me out big time. Brian gave me ankle braces. He was cramping and Matt went out to get him Pedialyte. Whenever we were down, we made sure anyone not playing was there for support. It’s a great thing playing for something bigger than yourself.”
The Lions finished with eight points, half as much as champion Wiregrass Ranch, but enough for the school’s highest boys finish ever as the FHSAA Class 3A state runner-up.
“It feels great because we’ve been working at this for four years,” Abramowitz said. “I’ve made so many friends playing on the Leon tennis team. It’s sad to let it go, but it’s been the best four years.”
He could go down as the best runner to come out of Tallahassee if he repeats as 1600- and 3200-meter state champion in two weeks time.
That would give Leon senior Sukhi Khosla six state titles, along with a few of the best times in state history— 4:05 mile, 8:59 two mile, 14:59 5k.
Khosla opted not to stay home and run for Florida State, instead choosing to accept Oklahoma State coach Dave Smith’s offer to run for the Cowboys, who have won three NCAA cross country titles since 2009.
“They’ve got like six sub-4:00 milers right now,” Khosla said.
“It’s tough to beat that. I feel like now is a good time to test the waters and get out of my hometown and see what it’s like in the world.”
Khosla— a three-time All-Big Bend cross country runner of the year— knows he’s not running at the same level as he did last year. That means upcoming races in his respective region meet and then the state meet will be tougher. He’s not sure if he’ll even attempt the distance double again.
His competitive nature says to go for it, repeat as champion. It’s that same drive that he believes will help him succeed at Oklahoma State and beyond.
“My senior year hasn’t gone the way I pictured it, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Khosla said.
“I’m going to shut down for one or two weeks, which I’ve never really done before, and then just reset for a good freshman year of college. I don’t see this lull I’ve had as the end of my good running. I still have high goals for college and Olympic aspirations. We’ll see where it takes me.”
District track news
Chiles senior Avery Bartlett, who has signed to run for Georgia Tech, returned to action at the District 3-3A meet in Jacksonville following an injury that has sidelined him most of the season. He won the 800 in 2:01, setting up the reigning state champion for his title defense.
Bartlett also ran the mile, finishing in second one second behind Khosla, which helped defending 3A state champion Chiles (178.5 points) earn a team title ahead of Lincoln (154) and Leon (121). The Timberwolves’ girls also won district, beating the Trojans, 180 to 162.
In the District 2-2A meet, Florida High’s girls dominated to the tune of 259 points, easily beating Wakulla and Rickards. The Raiders’ boys, however, bolted to 270 points to dispatch Wakulla, Florida High and Godby.
Among other signings, Lincoln point guard Taylore Ford has inked with Albany Tech, while FAMU DRS’ multiple-time state champions Ja’Nyia McNealy and Raygene Garner signed with Hillsborough Community College.
At Florida High, Tajae Anderson— the area’s leading scorer in basketball— signed with Baton Rouge CC, while first-team All-Big Bend linebacker Maurice Gardner signed with Dodge City CC.
Football and soccer player Andres DeTorres signed with Faulkner University, while girls soccer forward Frenchell Bryant landed at Iowa Central.