Updates from Olympic skateboarding, college softball and high school lacrosse
Once again, there's a lot happening in Sarasota sports and not enough space to give everything its own story, so I'm back in the bullet-point column lane. This week, we have a lot of news involving Olympians and updates on the high school spring sports season, which is rapidly approaching the postseason. Let's get started.
Olympics bound: Sarasota skateboarder Jake Ilardi, who grew up pounding the pavement at Payne Park, is headed to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He's second in the United States and sixth in the world in the World Skateboarding Rankings for street skating.
While working on his craft, Ilardi is also attempting to improve Payne Park for future skaters. Ilardi and others have started a GoFundMe to bring a new 20-by-4.5 foot quarter pipe to the park, which would both help Ilardi's training and give local skaters a new challenge.
Ilardi said on Twitter that the city of Sarasota doesn't have the funds for the pipe themselves because of pandemic-related budget cuts, but gave Ilardi permission to raise the money for one. As of March 31, the campaign was approximately $2,000 short of its $15,000 goal. If you would like to donate to the cause, you can visit gofundme.com/f/addition-to-payne-skatepark, or visit Ilardi's Twitter profile (@jakeilardi).
If you don't know Ilardi's story, by the way, I profiled him in 2018 and you can still read it at yourobserver.com. It's a worth checking out, if I do say so myself. (Which I do.)
Lacrossing paths: The Riverview (10-2) and Cardinal Mooney (9-3) high school boys lacrosse teams have continued to play at an elite level. The Rams have done it by spreading the love on offense. In their 17-4 win against Manatee High on Tuesday, 10 different Rams scored goals, and no one had more than three.
The Cougars, meanwhile, have a freshman goaltender in Joe Brown who has been strong in net. As the only goaltender on the roster, according to MaxPreps, Brown has held Mooney's usual schedule of strong opponents to eight goals per game. That's good for anyone, but especially a player with three years to get even better. The boys lacrosse playoffs begin the week of April 12, and I can't wait to see how both programs fare.
Oh, Canada: The Florida Gulf Coast League, which debuted in 2020 as the first summer league for collegiate fastpitch softball players, announced March 26 that it will be hosting Team Canada for two doubleheaders July 3-4 at the Miss Sarasota Softball complex. The league will also be hosting Team Mexico for a six game set June 22-27.
The team will also be holding a softball camp during that time. More information will be found at fgclsoftball.com as it becomes available, but I can tell you from watching the league last season, you aren't going to want to miss these opportunities. College softball players are some of the fiercest competitors on the planet, and when they clash with Olympians — Canada and Mexico are headed to the 2021 Tokyo games — it is going to be a show.