The spring sports season has been over for Sarasota teams for weeks, and even the NCAA spring season is winding down. I thought this would be a great time to take a final look at some of our spring sports alumni and how they did during the 2022 season. Spoiler alert: they did great, as usual. I say it all the time, but we are lucky to live in such a talent-rich area with great representatives at the next level.
Like always, I don't have the space to include all the alumni who had stellar seasons, but I have tried to include as many as I can.
Conner Whittaker, Florida State baseball
Whittaker, the former Sarasota High Sailors pitcher, had a brilliant freshman season with the Seminoles. Whittaker threw 36.1 innings, all out of the bullpen, and held a 2.48 ERA and a 2-2 record. He struck out 33 batters while walking just 12. Whittaker's season was good enough to earn him a place on the National College Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-America Second Team. I would not be surprised if there are more awards and honorifics coming for Whittaker, whether this year or a future one.
Jack Duffy, Polk State baseball
Duffy, a former Sailor, had an outstanding year at Polk State. The sophomore finished the 2022 National Junior College Athletic Association season as the batting average leader in the Florida College System Activities Association. Duffy hit .442 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. This led to Duffy being named a NJCAA Division I All-American Second Team on June 13. Frankly, I'm not sure how he didn't make the First Team with those numbers.
Duffy has done his time at the NJCAA level. Next year he'll be playing at an NCAA school: Houston, which went 37-24 and reached the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. It will be a well-deserved step up for Duffy, who made the most of his time at the junior college level and improved. Now he will show what he can do at the top level of the sport.
Devyn Flaherty, Florida State softball
Flaherty, a Riverview High alumna, and the Seminoles didn't have quite the season they did in 2021 when they reached the Women's College World Series — they lost in the NCAA Regionals this time — but it was still a personal success for the former Ram. Flaherty, a junior, hit .355 with 12 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 31 RBIs, plus 26 steals and a .980 fielding percentage. She was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Second Team.
Alexis Johns, South Florida softball
Johns, the former Sailor, was far and away the best position player on the Bulls in 2022. Johns hit for a team-high .341 average, with three doubles, four triples and 18 RBIs from the leadoff spot. Good, right? Well, she also pitched in with 59 steals, which led the entire NCAA — second place Skylar Wallace of Florida had 52. Johns' mark is a program record, no surprise. That is some extreme speed right there.
Johns, a junior, was chosen as the New Balance/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Golden Shoe Award winner for her efforts, given annually to the nation's best base stealer.
M.J. McMahon, Utah men's lacrosse
McMahon, a Cardinal Mooney High alumnus, finished fourth on the Utes with 31 points (20 goals, 11 assists) in 14 games. McMahon, a sophomore, helped the Utes to a 10-4 record, though the Utes did bow out in the second round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament with a loss to Robert Morris University. With senior attacker Josh Stout (45 points) graduating, there should be even more opportunities for McMahon to score next season.
Alec Frank, Clemson men's lacrosse
Clemson does not technically have a lacrosse program, or at least not one affiliated with the NCAA. Instead, Clemson is part of the Men's College Lacrosse Association, which is filled with teams whose schools have failed to add the sport at the NCAA level for one reason or another.
Clemson plays in the MCLA's Division I in the Atlantic Lacrosse Conference, and recently, Cardinal Mooney alum Alec Frank, a junior, was named the conference's Specialty Player of the Year for his work on face-offs. Congrats to him.
Adam Bradtmueller, East Tennessee State men's track and field
Bradtmueller, another former Sailor, did not make the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, failing to qualify for the 5,000 meter run at the NCAA East Prelims on May 25-27 in Indiana. That's the bad news. The good news is he didn't stop running after missing the cut. Bradtmueller competed at the Music City Track Carnival professional race in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 5, in the mile run, which was cheekily titled "Sub-4 (minutes) or Bust."
It appears Bradtmueller took the title literally — and he did not want to be a bust. Bradtmueller won the race in 3:57.91. According to All Time Athletics (which, I will admit, I just discovered, but appears to be quite thorough), 5,312 people have run a "sub-4" in the history of track and field. That's it. The website has not yet been updated to include Bradtmueller's time, but based on the current results, he would slot in 3,161st.
More names join the list each year, but going under four minutes remains one of the most impressive feats in sports. Bradtmueller can forever say he did it.
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.