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10 East County athletes to watch in 2024

These athletes combine natural talent and diligence to excel in their respective sports.

Lakewood Ranch High boys golfer Parker Severs finished second individually at the Class 3A state tournament in 2023.
Lakewood Ranch High boys golfer Parker Severs finished second individually at the Class 3A state tournament in 2023.
Photo by Ryan Kohn
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As the calendar turns to 2024, the local sports scene is filled with athletes doing impressive things in their respective fields. 

Among all those athletes, here is a look at 10 who have positioned themselves to have special results in the new year:

1. Parker Severs, Lakewood Ranch High boys golf

After showing heaps of potential in his first two seasons, Mustangs junior boys golfer Parker Severs delivered when it mattered most in 2023.

Lakewood Ranch High junior Parker Severs practices his putting before a round at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club's Royal Lakes course.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Severs finished tied for second overall (70-73—143) at the 2023 Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A state tournament, held Nov. 10-11 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, alongside Winter Haven High junior Anthony Monteleone. Severs was three shots back of winner Tyler Mawhinney, a sophomore at Fleming Island High, and was two shots better than junior Mustangs teammate Henry Burbee (77-68—145), who finished tied for fourth. The Mustangs would finish second as a team. 

Severs also finished tied for second (71-73-68—212) at the Florida State Golf Association’s Boys Junior Championship, held July 6-8 at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club and PGA National Resort in Palm Beach, and finished tied for 10th (73-70-72—215) at the Florida Junior Tour Championship, held Oct. 7-8 at Lakewood National Golf Club. 

"Parker has always had a great work ethic as well as great talent," Mustangs Head Coach Dave Frantz said. "I feel like this year he has matured in his approach to competition. He is still fiery in his desire to win, but has tempered it with a greater sense of confidence and patience."

As a senior in 2024, Severs will go for an individual state title while teaming with Burbee to help the Mustangs toward a potential team state title. 

2. Ella Dodge, Lakewood Ranch High softball
Lakewood Ranch senior Ella Dodge will have another shot at states in 2024 under new coach Taylor Gould.
File photo

The Lakewood Ranch High softball team had a down year by its own lofty standards in 2023, finishing 16-11 and losing 7-4 to Steinbrenner High in the Class 7A regional quarterfinals, but pitcher Ella Dodge had another strong season. 

Dodge, then a junior, followed up her Class 7A Player of the Year award-winning 2022 season with a 2.44 ERA and 106 strikeouts while walking just 34 batters in 91.2 innings. Dodge also helped herself as one of the team’s top batters, hitting .415 with nine doubles, one triple and one home run. She tied then-senior Cassidy McLellan for the team lead with 22 RBIs. 

As the Mustangs enter 2024 under first-year Head Coach Taylor Gould, they will have a stalwart senior pitcher on the mound. 

Editor's note: Dodge's talents will indeed be on display but in a different state: She decided to graduate early from Lakewood Ranch High in December and will instead join her University of Tennessee teammates for the spring season.

3. Yahshua Edwards, Braden River High football

Coming into the 2023 season, the Braden River High football team needed to find reliable players at running back and wide receiver. 

Pirates junior Yahshua Edwards quickly proved that he could serve both roles. 

Braden River High junior Yahshua Edwards (17) leans into a hit from Lakewood Ranch junior defensive back Mike Turner (24) during a 2023 game. Edwards has transferred to Riverview High for the 2024 season.
File photo

Edwards had 163 carries for 967 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns while splitting time with junior Marcus Galloway, who had 134 carries for 627 yards and three touchdowns. When not in the backfield, Edwards would play wide receiver. He caught 37 passes for 443 yards — both of which led the team — and four touchdowns. 

Edwards’ 114 points scored was tied for seventh-most in Class 3S with Port Charlotte High running back Edd Guerrier and Choctawhatchee High running back Cole Tabb. 

4. Lucas Anthony, Lakewood Ranch High boys lacrosse

For the second year in a row, Lakewood Ranch High boys lacrosse player Lucas Anthony proved that he is one of the top offensive players in Florida. 

Lucas Anthony.

A year after scoring 64 goals and dishing out 13 assists as a sophomore, totaling 77 points, Anthony had an even better junior season in 2023. Anthony scored 58 goals while upping his assists to 33, totaling 91 points. According to MaxPreps statistics, Anthony’s 91 points were the 14th most in Florida, and his 5.7 points per game average was higher than six of the 13 players in front of him on the list. 

Anthony will have one more season to beat his own numbers as a senior in 2024.

5. Allen Clark, The Out-of-Door Academy football

What a difference sophomore running back Allen Clark made for The Out-of-Door Academy football team in 2023.

Clark injured his ankle after recording eight carries for 30 yards in the Thunder’s Oct. 6 game against Bell Creek Academy, a game the Thunder would lose 8-6. Clark would miss the next two games with the injury. ODA would lose both games, setting the team’s record at 3-5 entering the postseason. 

ODA sophomore running back Allen Clark (17) breaks through the LPCA defense for a big gain. Clark had three touchdown runs in the SSAA Class 4A championship game Nov. 10 against the Stingrays.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Clark returned for the postseason and immediately made ODA a contender again. In three postseason games, Clark ran for 588 yards and nine touchdowns, including 205 yards and three touchdowns Nov. 10 in ODA’s Sunshine State Athletic Association Class 4A title win over Lighthouse Private Christian Academy. For the season, Clark had 1,104 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

Clark will be a junior when ODA tries to defend its title in 2024. 

6. Marcus Schade, Braden River High boys basketball

Pirates boys basketball guard Marcus Schade has become a scoring machine for Braden River over his four years in the program. 

Braden River junior Marcus Schade shoots over Lakewood Ranch senior Trey Holweger (24) during the 2022-23 season.
File photo

A 6-foot-3 senior, Schade has carried his scoring touch into the 2023-2024 season. As of Dec. 18, Schade is averaging 24 points per game while bringing down 5.5 rebounds per game and dishing 1.5 assists per game. His scoring average is good for 19th in Florida and third in FHSAA Class 5A. 

His offensive prowess has helped Braden River to a 6-3 start to the season. 

7. Taryn Nguyen, Braden River High girls golf

Braden River High girls golfer Taryn Nguyen showed promise as a freshman in 2022, qualifying for the FHSAA state tournament and finishing 39th overall (79-90—169) in Class 2A. 

Nguyen topped that finish as a sophomore in 2023. 

Taryn Nguyen is a sophomore on the Braden River High girls golf team.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Nguyen again qualified for the Class 2A state tournament as an individual and this time finished 12th overall, shooting 76-75—151 over two rounds Nov. 7-8 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills. It was the best finish of any girls golfer in the area. 

She’ll try to top herself again as a junior in 2024. 

8. Lochlan Radloff, Lakewood Ranch High baseball
Lakewood Ranch junior Lochlan Radloff threw a complete game against Winter Haven High.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Mustangs baseball’s Lochlan Radloff proved he can contribute in all facets of the game in 2023. 

As a junior, Radloff pitched 56 innings for Lakewood Ranch and held a 2.75 ERA, allowing 47 hits and striking out 77 batters while walking 20 batters. His best performance came in the team’s 6-1 regional playoff game against Winter Haven High, when he threw a complete game, allowing one run on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. 

He can also get it done at the plate. Radloff led the Mustangs with a .396 average and added three doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs. 

9. Mia McGuire, Braden River High volleyball
Braden River sophomore Mia McGuire serves against ODA on Aug. 22. McGuire finished the year with 166 digs, helping the team to a district title.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Braden River High volleyball sophomore Mia McGuire was not supposed to be thrust into action as early as she was in 2023, but an injury to her senior sister,  Mary Allison McGuire, in the team's first match of the year against The Out-of-Door Academy forced the younger McGuire into duty at setter. 

McGuire, a natural defensive specialist, had only started learning setter during the preseason. She stepped up anyway, making the best of a bad situation. McGuire ended the season as the team's assist leader (457) and became a vital piece of the Pirates' roster as the team finished 21-7 and won a district title for a third-straight year. 

In 2024, thanks to graduating six key seniors, the Pirates will need players like McGuire to step up again. This time, she'll be even more prepared to excel. 

10. Logan Borcsane, Lakewood Ranch High boys wrestling
Lakewood Ranch High senior wrestler Logan Borcsane won the 113-pound division of the Bradenton Battle tournament in December.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

Mustangs boys wrestler Logan Borcsane, a senior, has started his final year of high school wrestling on an upswing. 

Borcsane won the 113-pound division of the 2023 Bradenton Battle tournament, held Dec. 15-16 at Bradenton Christian School, going 5-0 and defeating Braden River High junior Mathew Ireland — a Class 2A state tournament qualifier in 2022 — in the finals by fall in 0:43. 

Borcsane was a regional tournament qualifier in 2022, his first year in wrestling. He will look to make the leap to the state tournament in 2023. 



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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