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East County alumni make their mark in college

Lakewood Ranch High, Braden River High and The Out-of-Door Academy all have alumni doing big things at the next level.

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Many of the local high school athletes who became stars here at home are continuing to make their mark at universities across the country.

Here's a look at a handful of fall and winter sports East County alumni who have done just that. 


Former Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer player Gi Krstec, a senior at FAU, was named the CUSA Midfielder of the Year on Nov. 1. (Courtesy photo.)
Former Lakewood Ranch High girls soccer player Gi Krstec, a senior at FAU, was named the CUSA Midfielder of the Year on Nov. 1. (Courtesy photo.)
Gi Krstec, Florida Atlantic Soccer

Gi Krstec, a former Lakewood Ranch High soccer player, played her freshman year at the University of Maryland in 2017 before transferring to the Owls. Now a senior, Krstec saved her best season for last. As of Nov. 4, the midfielder has netted seven goals in 20 games, to go along with her stingy defense and leadership. As a team captain, she helped the team to a 10-7-3 record and a spot in the Conference USA tournament semifinals. Three of Krstec’s goals were game winners. 

Krstec’s play gained her recognition as well. On Nov. 1, she was named the CUSA Midfielder of the Year. The last FAU player to receive a conference award was Mary O'Hara, who received the same distinction in 2019.

"I want to thank and express my gratitude to everyone who has been a part of my life during this journey," Krstec said in a release. "This is my last season of collegiate soccer, and this award is the cherry on top. I have been blessed with great teammates and a superb coaching staff, who are beside me always, and deserve a portion of this award. I am truly grateful for the sport of soccer and everything it has provided me."

Krstec was also named to the All-CUSA First Team, and on Oct. 28, she was named to the CUSA All-Academic team. Krstec posted a GPA of 3.55 in FAU’s MBA of sports management program. 


Former Braden River football player Deshaun Fenwick, a junior at Oregon State, has four touchdowns in 2022. (Courtesy photo.)
Former Braden River football player Deshaun Fenwick, a junior at Oregon State, has four touchdowns in 2022. (Courtesy photo.)
Deshaun Fenwick, Oregon State Football

After a nice 2021 season in which the former Braden River High running back rushed for 448 yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries while splitting time with other backs, it was obvious Fenwick was headed toward a big 2022 season. 

When the 2022 season started, Fenwick took the reins for himself. Through the Beavers’ first six games, Fenwick, now a junior, rushed for 336 yards and four touchdowns on 73 carries. However, Fenwick got banged up with an undisclosed injury in the team’s Oct. 15 game against Washington State and missed the next game against Colorado.

He snapped back by rushing for two touchdowns Nov. 4 in a 24-21 loss to Washington. Fenwick now has 393 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Oregon State, 6-3, already has qualified for a bowl game.


Sam Jackson, Central Florida Football

The former football and basketball star at Lakewood Ranch High is playing his senior season with the Knights and has started every game at offensive guard in 2022. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder has helped the Knights rack up 1,955 rushing yards (5.5 yards per carry) through eight games.

The success of the running game, in part, has led the team to a 7-2 record that ensures UCF will go to a bowl game for the sixth-straight season. The Knights also have a chance to reach the American Athletic Conference championship game. UCF, 4-1 in the conference, is currently second in the conference standings behind Tulane (8-1; 5-0 in conference). The two teams meet Nov. 12 at Tulane.


Zachary Szmania, Boston College Swimming

The former Out-of-Door Academy swimmer is a senior at Boston College. Szmania has already left an indelible mark on the Eagles’ program by setting school records in the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:20.20) and in the 1,650-yard freestyle (15:31.41) and is second in the 500-yard freestyle (4:29.48). 

Szmania is off to a solid start in his senior season. He won the 1,000 free (9:37.51) by more than three seconds at the Eagles’ first big meet, the BC Invitational, on Oct. 16.


Mark Davis, Southern Illinois Football

Davis initially went from Braden River High to the University of Buffalo upon graduation in 2018, but a traditional redshirt year, then a medical redshirt year in 2019, slowed his on-field progress. After seeing the field in eight games in 2021, Davis transferred to Southern Illinois, where he’s seen action in seven of the Salukis’ nine games in 2022. Despite being in college four years, Davis holds sophomore eligibility, so he has time to grow into a nice role at SIU.  


Johnny Reid, Dartmouth Cross-Country

Reid, the former Lakewood Ranch High runner, has been a steady presence for Dartmouth, running for both the cross-country and track and field programs. Now a senior, Reid is continuing that pattern. 

At the 2022 New England Championships, held Oct. 8 at Boston’s Franklin Park, Reid finished 30th overall (25:48) out of 130 runners. Dartmouth finished sixth out of 20 teams. 



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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