A tribute to the athletes whose seasons may be cut short.
The high school sports season may be over.
I know it’s not fun to think about, but it’s reality. Our feature this week focused on seniors, but COVID-19 is affecting all athletes, robbing them of memories to be made. It’s a shame that teams will have to go their separate ways without any trophy ceremonies or recognition.
So, the least I could do, I think, is recognize some of them. I do this once per sports season, anyway. Teams may have only been able to play a handful of their games, but there were some incredible performances that went under the radar during that time. As always, there are plenty of athletes who started the spring season hot and won’t get mentioned here. It’s an issue of space, and it’s a good problem to have: It means our athletes are putting up monster numbers.
Over at Sarasota High, the Sailors track and field team has been faring well. The boys team won the team title at the Venice Invitational on March 11 at Venice High. Senior runner Adrien Zambaux won the 1,600-meter run (4:29.26) — fellow Sailor Orlando Cicilioni finished second (4:34.33) — and senior Ke’Andre Collins won both the 200-meter dash (22.30) and the 300-meter hurdles (39.40). The girls team finished second overall, with junior Kasumi Wade winning the 1,600-meter run (5:26.93) and junior Kaijah Mah won the triple jump (34.68 feet).
Other track phenoms include Riverview High senior Alexa Tarohocker, who won the girls high jump (5 feet, 1.75 inches) and javelin (107 feet, 11 inches) at the Venice Invitational, and Cardinal Mooney senior Kolby Crist, who finished second in the boys pole vault (11.71 feet) at the same event.
On the diamond, Riverview senior softball infielder Holley Pelluso was tearing up the batter’s box. Peluso was hitting .452 with four home runs, two triples, two doubles and eight RBIs. She also had yet to make an error. Rams senior pitcher Kassie Cross was also a warrior, throwing 43.1 of 61 total innings for the team and always giving them a chance to win.
Sarasota High baseball also had some big performances. Uriel Hernandez, a senior, was hitting .423 from the leadoff spot, with five walks, two RBIs and nine runs scored. Junior pitcher Conner Whittaker has also left an impression, throwing 20.2 innings and holding a 0.89 ERA with 17 strikeouts. At Booker High, junior pitcher Jon Supple has impressed. He held Southeast High to one (unearned) run on one hit and one walk with four strikeouts on March 9, in a 2-1 win.
At Cardinal Mooney, the boys and girls lacrosse teams have had exceptional efforts. On the boys side, senior Drew Snyder had 18 goals in eight games. On the girls side, senior Molly Donaghy had 19 goals — over her last three games.
On the tennis court, the Sailors boys team held a 6-2 team record, most recently sweeping Braden River High 7-0 on March 11. That is difficult to do, no matter the opponent, at the high school level.
Even though I believe the sports shutdown is the right call, it’s certainly not an easy one. It sickens me to think about the things these may not get to do. I hope I see them back on the field soon.