Sports notebook: NCT golf teams crowned region champs

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Never had any boys or girls golf team from Nature Coast captured a regional championship. On Monday, they both did.
The Class 2A, Region 5 boys and girls tournaments, both held at Crescent Oaks Golf Club in Tarpon Springs, each featured a Shark squad collecting a first-place trophy.
For the boys, it came down to one stroke, as Nature Coast bested Mitchell, 329-330. Both teams nonetheless qualified for a trip to states.
“That was exciting,” Nature Coast boys coach Tom Brown said. “I was hoping to get second, so it was really awesome.
“I think a lot of things were in flux and other teams probably got more effected by it. I think my kids put it behind them and played their game.”
The issue was that the tournament was divided into two separate shotgun starts, one at 8 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m. Most coaches preferred to play in the cooler morning temperatures, however Brown believed there was an advantage for the Sharks, who played in the afternoon session.
“We knew what other teams’ scores were and we knew they didn’t play well in the morning,” Brown said. “We had a better idea of what we needed to shoot.”
Senior Glen Richard led Nature Coast with an 18-hole round of 79, followed by Mickey Dono with an 80 and Chris Felts at 82. Kevin Giardino carded an 88 to complete the team score, good enough to edge the Mustangs.
“We’ve had three good years, but getting a regional win, obviously, it’s a confidence-booster,” Brown said. “Once you’ve done it and broken through, those things come a little bit easier.”
The Lady Sharks also won by a narrow margin, their 388 topping Land O’ Lakes at 391. As with the boys, both teams are headed to states.
“I think it means a lot,” Nature Coast girls coach Dave Pisarcik said. “It shows how hard the girls have been working. We’ve been practicing since August 1 and our goal was to win the district and come in the top two in regionals and go to states. … I’m definitely proud of the girls and how they played this week.”
Skyler Muscianese, a junior who qualified for states individually in 2015, turned in the low score for the Lady Sharks with a 91. Alexis Dross added a 95, while Dawn Posey’s 100 and Alexa Dono’s 102 rounded out the team total.
“I told the girls going in, if everyone shoots their averages we’ll be successful and have a chance to go as a team,” Pisarcik said. “Skyler having a low round was big. Alexis Dross shooting in the 90s was big. But the underrated players who don’t get that much attention, Dawn and Alexa, I thought those scores were huge.
“I know girls golf doesn’t get much attention, but the hard work and sacrifice these girls make to be able to win, I think people are starting to take notice.”
The 2A FHSAA Finals will take place Nov. 1-2 at Mission Inn and Resort at Howey-in-the-Hills. No other Hernando County golfers qualified.
“Obviously at states, to be able to win it we’d have to shoot well below our averages. Is that a realistic goal? No,” Pisarcik said. “But I just want the girls to play their best and enjoy the experience and shoot their averages.”
Hernando's Trevor Foley competes Thursday in the 2A-7 Meet at the Weeki Wachee Preserve. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Trevor Foley became a two-time individual champion at Thursday’s Class 2A, District 7 cross country meet held at Weeki Wachee Preserve. The Hernando junior ran a 15:59.34, leading the Leopards to a third-place 76, good enough to allow the whole team to advance to regionals.
Ross Stalcup finished seventh (18:14.72), Wesley Wilson took 16th (18:56.52), Ryan Bell placed 18th (19:01.42) and Seth Wilson 35th (20:12.64) for Hernando.
Nature Coast earned the fourth and final regional berth, scoring a 105. Gabriel Guillen ran an eighth-place 18:22.77, followed by Matthew Ralsky (17th, 18:57.91), Lenny Iacopelli (23rd, 19:41.29), Zachary Gates (25th, 19:47.13) and Harrison Ryczek (19:58.27).
Individually, Weeki Wachee’s Brandon Boggs (12th, 18:32.26) and Yeatesh Raghunandan (15th, 18:38.50) will go on to regionals by virtue of their top-15 finish.
Central's Rayna King runs Thursday at the Weeki Wachee Preserve during the 2A-7 Meet. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

For the girls, Nature Coast came in second with a 65 and Central placed fourth at 123. Emily Escamilla (22:09.43), Keira Barbee (22:13.73) and Leah Marville (22:36.36) took fourth, fifth and sixth respectively for the Lady Sharks, and Aliyah Dipalma came in eighth (22:45.92). Kaitlyn Pierce was 52nd in 31:23.49.
Central freshman Rayna King crossed the finish line second in 21:21.46. Isabella Mohr was 21st (24:58.71), Laura Trozzo 37th (28:03.17), Gabby Trozzo 41st (28:18.87) and Omer Nouran 49th (29:21.47).
Megan McDowell of Hernando (12th, 23:25.40) and Lauren Stocker from Weeki Wachee (15th, 23:42.44) garnered regional berths.
On Friday night, Springstead’s football team took care of business in a non-district matchup at Dunedin, winning 44-0. Demetrius Barry ran 17 times for 149 yards with a touchdown, while Nathan Sims totaled 91 yards on 11 carries, scoring twice. Randy Morgan added a pair of touchdown runs and three 2-point conversions.
Meanwhile the Eagles (4-2) received some intriguing news in 6A-6 with Mitchell knocking off first-place Sunlake. Springstead had previously defeated Mitchell, then lost to Sunlake, and all three teams are currently tied with one district loss.
Though Central was officially eliminated from postseason contention, it did assure its first winning season since 2007 with a 28-20 victory over Hernando (3-4 overall, 2-3 5A-7) at the Bears’ Den.
De’Vonta Smith rushed 41 times for 420 yards and notched four touchdowns for the Bears (5-3 overall, 4-2 5A-7). He also had 14 tackles on defense, five for a loss, and two passes defensed. It’s the third time this season he has surpassed 400 yards on the ground. He continues to lead the state with 2,453 rushing yards and is tied for the top spot with 29 touchdowns.
Weeki Wachee nearly rallied back from a 23-point halftime deficit before visiting Lecanto held on down the stretch for a 39-36 victory.
Alec Cromie completed 10-of-18 passes for 184 yards and threw for four touchdowns, three of them in the second half, and ran for another score. After the Hornets (0-8) fell behind 31-8 at the half, Cromie’s 59-yard strike to Eli Mendoza and a 2-point run by Sebastian Class cut the deficit to 31-29 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
A 3-yard run to the end zone by Anthony Hernandez provided some much-needed cushion for the Panthers with 3:37 left to play. Cromie connected on his fourth touchdown pass, a 57-yarder to Montae Bostick as 2:09 showed on the clock, but Lecanto was able to run out the clock.
“The second half, we played great. Offensively and defensively, we did a good job,” Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said. “We had a few opportunities we let get away. But I’m very proud of the kids the way they came out in the second half and played their butts off and never gave up, never quit. That tells a lot about their character, to be down 31-8 at half and just come back and put us in position where we very easily could have won the game.
“We get to play spoiler. Any way you look at it, we have the chance to play a spoiler. So, that’s what we want to do and if we’re able to do that, that’ll be great. We’ve got two games left and try to finish on a strong note.”
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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