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Prose and Kohn

Sarasota-area alumni excel in college sports fall season

These athletes are representing Sarasota well on a wide range of playing fields.

Emma Weyant was recently named the SEC's Co-Swimmer of the Week.
Emma Weyant was recently named the SEC's Co-Swimmer of the Week.
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October is known to be the scariest month of the year. Maybe that's why the final stretch of the fall sports season always sneaks up on me, putting a jolt into my system. 

I'm always sad to see the end coming — there's about a month left of the college sports season, save for college football bowl games — but I do love updating everyone on how our area alumni are faring. Even when things are not so rosy for their teams, area athletes find a way to stand out. Here's what six of our highest-profile alums are doing in 2023. 

Emma Weyant, University of Florida swimming

It's a bit odd to think of Weyant, who swam for Riverview High and the Sarasota Sharks, as a college athlete after watching her win a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but there she is. The junior swimmer is back for another season with the Gators and has started as dominant as ever. 

On Oct. 17, Weyant was named the SEC's Co-Swimmer of the Week alongside University of Arkansas swimmer Alessia Ferraguti. Weyant recorded the country's fastest times in the 400 individual medley (4:07.51) and the 500 freestyle (3:39.22) at a meet against the University of Virginia. 

Jaron Glover and Charles Brantley, Michigan State University football

There's no way to sugarcoat it. The 2023 season has been a disaster for Michigan State. The team's coach, Mel Tucker, was fired in September after coming under investigation for a sexual misconduct complaint. 

The Spartans have gone 2-5 in 2023, with zero Big Ten Conference wins. On Oct. 21, the program again found itself in hot water for asking a trivia question on its video board about Adolf Hitler during the team's game against the University of Michigan — a game the Spartans would go on to lose 49-0.

Things could be going better, is the point. 

Yet through it all, area alumni have continued to perform. Glover, a Riverview High graduate, has 12 catches for 227 yards as a redshirt freshman receiver. That's good for an average of 18.9 yards per catch, which would lead the Big Ten if he had enough catches to be eligible for such a distinction. Brantley, who started his career at Riverview before transferring to Venice High, suffered an upper-body injury that has limited him to three games played at defensive back, but he has 10 tackles (one tackle for loss) and a pass breakup in those games. 

Anna Klemeyer, U.S. Naval Academy volleyball

Klemeyer, a key piece of the Cardinal Mooney High state championship volleyball team in 2019, is now a senior at Navy. She will end her career as one of the most efficient players in the program's history. As of Oct. 20, Klemeyer was fifth all-time on Navy's career hit percentage list (.294) and had recorded 309 kills and 225 blocks. 

Klemeyer has also excelled in the classroom. Klemeyer was named to the Patriot League All-Academic Team in 2022 and has received academic honors from Navy in six semesters — three times reaching the Superintendent’s List. At a place like Navy, that means a lot. 

Former Sarasota High running back Brian Battie played for Auburn University in 2023.
Courtesy image
Brian Battie, Auburn University football

Battie, the former Sarasota High star, transferred to Auburn from the University of South Florida over the offseason for the chance to make his name in the Southeastern Conference. It may not be working out exactly how he thought it would: Battie, a junior, who was the starter and a 1,186-yard rusher at USF last season, has just 40 carries for 182 yards at Auburn, to go with six catches for 41 yards. He has zero touchdowns this season after scoring eight in 2022. 

From the outside, this does not appear to be a matter of Battie being challenged by a step up in talent level. Auburn's entire offense has struggled under first-year Head Coach Hugh Freeze on the way to a 3-4 start, and Battie has actually fared slightly better than leading rusher Jarquez Hunter in terms of yards per rush (4.6 to 4.3), and Hunter only has 309 total rushing yards himself.

In my eyes, it would be wise for Freeze to get Battie more involved. 

Mary Tucker, West Virginia University rifle

Like Weyant, it can be difficult to remember that Tucker, a former Sarasota Military Academy shooter, is a college athlete after all she has accomplished on the world stage, including a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Tucker did more of that international stuff recently: on Oct. 23, Tucker teamed with Ryan Kissell to take first place in the mixed team air rifle event at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, beating Mexico 16-10. 

She's still at West Virginia, though — a fifth-year senior — and the Mountaineers are doing well in their own right. It's not a huge surprise when they have Tucker on the team. West Virginia is ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association poll as of Oct. 24. Tucker herself leads the nation in smallbore average (593) and is fourth in aggregate average (1189). 



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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