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Under-appreciated athletes of the winter sports season

Prose and Kohn: Ryan Kohn

Amber Schrag helped carry the Sarasota Christian girls basketball team. Courtesy photo.
Amber Schrag helped carry the Sarasota Christian girls basketball team. Courtesy photo.
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With the spring sports season beginning this week, and just three area basketball teams remaining in the winter postseason, I think it is time for the winter season's edition of my "athletes and teams who did cool stuff" column.

As I wrote in the fall, this is not a list of the best athletes, necessarily, nor is it comprehensive. This is just some people and teams that did stuff I think is cool and deserves recognition, stuff that well-represents area schools and will be remembered by its participants forever. 

The perks of being a columnist, indeed. 

Anthony Sumoza, Riverview High boys soccer

Sumoza, a sophomore, helped the Rams reach the playoffs with his steady play in net. How good was he? According to MaxPreps data, Sumoza had the 21st-best goals against average, or GAA, per 80 minutes (a full game) in Class 5A, at 1.361.

But Sumoza also played the fourth-most minutes of any goalie in the class (1,470), and made 5.5 saves per game, the eighth-most in the class. Of the seven goalies who played at least 1,000 minutes in net, Sumoza’s GAA trailed only Plant High’s Emmanuel Mata (0.879) and Hagerty High’s Abdul Muqeet (1.163).

Not many goalies faced the workload Sumoza did, and not many performed better within it. His five shutouts were the cherry on top of a great season.

Amber Schrag, Sarasota Christian girls basketball

The Sarasota Christian senior girls basketball player was named to the McDonald’s All-American nominee list despite playing for a team that went 8-18.

Blazers coach Daniel Johnson called Schrag his team’s “Swiss Army knife” because she did a bit of everything when it was needed. Johnson said Schrag was a great example for the youngers Blazers players to follow. She led the Blazers in assists per game (3.0), to go with with 5.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Terrell Pack, Sarasota High boys basketball

Back in August, when football practice was just underway, Sailors first-year football coach Spencer Hodges told me Pack, a sophomore, was a player for which he had high hopes, and that he could play wide receiver as easily as he could defensive end. That’s versatility.

Hodges was right — Pack had a strong year on the gridiron — but he didn’t tell me he could play basketball, too. Pack played great down the stretch,  scoring 22 points against Booker High Feb. 4, 16 points against Cardinal Mooney High Feb. 8 and 13 points against Venice High Feb. 11.

Next year, as a junior, Pack should be even scarier in both sports.

Ashley Strader, Sarasota Military Academy girls basketball

The senior forward averaged 13.6 points per game, good for 28th in Class 5A, and 8.3 rebounds per game, good for 21st. Only seven players in the class rank higher than Strader on both lists, meaning Strader was a top-10 dual threat player.

Strader led the Eagles in both, and helped the team to a 13-10 record as a team captain. I don’t have any Earth-shattering revelations here, but that does not matter. Strader made the Eagles the best team they could be, and that should count for something.

The Cardinal Mooney High girls basketball program

The Cougars improved from 3-18 to 15-7 in one season, thanks in large part to its seven-player freshman class and first-year coach Rico Antonio.

The Cougars have the talent base to make serious noise next season and beyond, and if they do, the 2018-2019 season will be remembered as the birth of something special.

This was fun, no? Congratulations to all the athletes named and not named here, and best of luck to the spring athletes having to follow these performances. If you manage to match them, well, the better for all of us. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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