+ Senior wrestler wins medal
Lakewood Ranch High senior Blake Riley-Hawkins finished fifth in the 132-pound weight class at the Class 2A state wrestling finals Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, at the Lakeland Center.
After losing his first-round match to defending champion Jamarius Jackson, Riley-Hawkins beat wrestlers from Jensen Beach, Lincoln Tallahassee, Gainesville and Naples to reach the medal stand.
Riley-Hawkins became Lakewood’s first three-time state qualifier, finishing with a career record 126-28.
+ Mustangs rally to beat Hurricanes
The Lakewood Ranch High baseball team came from behind to defeat Manatee 6-4 Feb. 15, and give new head coach Ryan Kennedy his first career victory.
Brad Zunica, Justin Greenaway, Garrett Schultz and Joey Ambrosino each had two hits for the Mustangs.
+ JV Pirates top Mustangs
The Braden River High JV baseball team defeated rival Lakewood Ranch 9-5 Feb. 15.
Cole Pencosky earned the win on the mound for the Pirates. Eric Kimsey went two-for-four with one RBI to lead the way for Braden River at the plate. Hunter Thomas went one-for-one with one RBI.
Grant Weismann went one-for-one with two RBIs to power the Mustangs. Tom Streier went one-for-two with a triple and one RBI.
+ Cougars in regional semifinals
Cardinal Mooney High sophomore guard Antonio Blakeney scored 33 points to lead the Cougars to a 92-70 victory over Shorecrest Prep in the Class 3A-Region 3 quarterfinals Feb. 14.
Matt Hueston added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars.
With the win, Cardinal Mooney played host to St. Petersburg Catholic in the regional semifinals Feb. 19. Be sure to check YourObserver.com to see how the Cougars fared.
+ SCF Manatees to play Orioles
The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota baseball team will face the Baltimore Orioles in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. March 29, at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota.
Three former Braden River and Lakewood Ranch High players, who now play for the Manatees, will be in attendance.
Admission is free. Reserved tickets for seating near the SCF dugout along the third baseline are $5. Proceeds from the game will benefit SCF Manatees Athletics to support scholarships and athletic department operations.
For information and to reserve tickets, contact the SCF athletics department at 752-5261.
+ Braden River wins season opener
The Braden River High softball team defeated Venice 3-1 in its season opener Feb. 12.
Hannah Loyer pitched five innings and also had two hits in the Class 7A-Districrt 11 win. Courtney Mirabella pitched the final two innings for the save.
+ Dick Vitale to host VIP reception
Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale will host a Pre-March Madness VIP Reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 21, at Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota, 4754 Clark Road.
Admission is a $100 donation with proceeds benefitting The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Guests will enjoy a meet-and-greet reception with Vitale and other celebrities from the sports world, as they kick off fundraising efforts for pediatric-cancer research. Hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer will be available.
For more information or to register contact Mary Kenealy Events at 350-0580 or visitformstack.com.
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Lakewood Ranch Town Hall’s Finance Director Steve Zielinski is the community’s money man, and he’s got the cufflinks to prove it.
Observer on the hunt for displays
We’re making our list of the best holiday lights displays in East County and checking it twice.