A look at three pieces of news involving area athletes this week, including a championship rowing event, college offers for football players and a television debut.
The beginning of June is purgatory in terms of the sports calendar.
The high school sports season has ended, but most summer sports like All-Star youth baseball have not yet begun to play games and there are not many community events like 5Ks. That means I'm in position to bring you a smorgasbord column, giving you a suggestion on an event to follow this weekend, a bit of local football news and a look at a unique Sarasota athlete who competed on TV earlier this week.
Nation's best youth rowers hit Benderson Park
Starting Thursday, the best youth rowers in the United States will compete in the USRowing Youth National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park. The event is always exciting and, as always, Sarasota will be represented. The Sarasota Crew has 17 entires in the event — of the other 209 competing clubs, only one club — Maritime Rowing Club of East Norwalk, Connecticut — has more entries with 19.
Many of the Crew's entries have a chance to finish high. Four entries are coming off wins at the Southeastern Regionals last month: The Men's U17 8+, the Men's Youth 8+, the Women's U17 2x (Maya Schultz and Maeva Ginsberg-Klemmt) and the Women's Youth 1x (Yana Krivosheeva).
Tickets to the event are admittedly expensive; it's $89 for access to all four days of rowing. There are no single-day options. But at the least, I recommend following the results online via the event's USRowing.org page. What these rowers do is impressive. So is the Crew's consistency. It's one of the most successful rowing clubs in the country and only gets a few weekends a year to shine. This is one of them.
Area football players expand their offer lists
It is officially camp season for football players across the country, which means there is about to be a deluge of offers from colleges coming down the pipe. It's one of my favorite things about the summer. All sports take a toll on its athletes, but football is especially tough. Seeing the dreams of our best representatives come true is something that never gets old.
Sarasota, being the hotbed of talent it is, is no exception to this deluge. I have compiled our area's offers from the last few weeks (approximately the beginning of spring ball) into a handy list. Since most players use social media to make their offers known — and because social media is nonstop content — there's a chance I might have missed someone's offers, but I have done my best to mitigate that. There's also a chance more come in after I'm done writing this (it's June 7). Give me a break on those, please. I'll get to them in a future update.
I won't go into too much detail about Cardinal Mooney High rising junior Teddy Foster here, since he is our Athlete of the Week, but it would be odd to not include him at all, so for the record, the cornerback/wide receiver has received offers from Tennessee, Indiana, Rutgers, South Florida and Florida International. Foster's Mooney teammate, rising junior running back Carson Beach, also received an offer from Tennessee, while Mooney rising senior wideout Cooper Flerlage got an offer from Stetson.
Riverview High rising junior Weston Gruttadauria, an offensive lineman, picked up his first Division I offer from Charlotte on May 24. Rams teammate Charles Lester III, a rising junior defensive back/wide receiver, has picked up offers from seemingly every school under the sun, but he got even more this spring, including Southern Cal, Penn State and Stanford.
Booker High rising sophomore Rashawn Peterson, a wide receiver, transferred from Braden River High after the 2021 season and has been on a tear this spring. Peterson has picked up offers from Penn State, Florida State, Duke and Marshall among other schools. Tornadoes rising senior safety/wideout Gavin Stanford got an offer from Florid Atlantic on May 4.
Sarasota High rising senior wide receiver Tyler Pack got an offer from Florida International on May 2 as did rising senior safety Lauriel Trotman III. Rising senior wideout Caleb Bradley received an offer from Stetson on May 9. Sailor rising sophomore quarterback Alexander Diaz scored an offer from Tennessee-Martin on June 7.
The 'Sunshine Ninja' strikes
On Monday, Sarasota's own Kyle McCreight, 34, competed on NBC's American Ninja Warrior during the show's 14th-season premiere. McCreight, known as the "Sunshine Ninja," is an occupational therapist. He said during the broadcast that he has been training for the show for five years. The show highlighted the relationship between McCreight and his dog, Tre, whom he rescued in June 2019. Tre had one of his legs amputated at three months old; McCreight trained him how to support himself without it. Tre is now a certified therapy dog.
McCreight made it through four of the show's obstacles before falling off the course on the fifth. I don't watch the show often, but the ANW announcers made it seem like this was a great performance for someone who had never attempted the course. It was at least good enough for McCreight to advance to the show's semifinals, which will air at a TBD date. If you want to learn more about McCreight and Tre's story, you can watch the episode on NBC's Peacock streaming service.
Pro tip: McCreight's segment starts at the 52:20 mark. You're welcome.
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