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East County Wednesday, May. 9, 2012 5 years ago

Comment: 2012 proves to be Lakewood's 'Year of the Champion'

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

Every athlete across the board strives for perfection in one way or another.

Whether it’s setting a personal record, winning a championship or moving on to play at the next level, each individual athlete has his or her own idea of what it means to be a successful athlete.

And in many cases, that notion of success is often defined by state championships.

Lakewood Ranch High senior Devin McDermott described it as “one perfect moment.”

Lakewood Ranch High junior Taylor Newton called it “everything.”

Braden River High alum Nicole Tira described it as “any girl’s dream.”

State titles are coveted, but they don’t just happen every day.

Apparently, someone forgot to mention that to Lakewood Ranch High’s athletes this year.

It’s been the “Year of the Champion” at Lakewood Ranch, as the Mustangs have won seven individual or team state titles this season. Lakewood started its state title run this fall, with Olivia Ortiz capturing an individual state title in cross country and the boys golf team capturing the Class 2A state tournament.

Swimmers Danielle Valley and Will Kazokas and tennis players Arnav and Arsav Mohanty, Cari Berry and Ashley Bongart all added state titles of their own earlier this year.

Most recently, the girls 4x800 relay of McDermott, Ortiz, Kristin Zarrella and Natalie Novak won gold at the Class 3A state meet May 4.

And the school may not be done yet, with the softball team competing in the state Final 4 May 9-10, and the baseball team in the midst of its regional tournament run.

The softball team has never won a state title, and the baseball team won its one and only state title in 2003.

Now with only one week at the most left in the spring season, Lakewood is making a strong case for having one of the area’s most talented athletic programs. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Lakewood has to make room in its trophy case for another state title by this time next week.

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