There were several things to write home about in the last few months.
In my two-and-a-half years writing sports for the Palm Coast and Ormond Beach Observer, I can truly say no other sports season has been more copious than the most recent winter sports season.
I watched a soccer team (Seabreeze) and a wrestler (Flagler Palm Coast’s Avery Holder) complete their accomplished seasons with state championships.
After covering Matanzas’ Miracle Porter for the last few seasons, I witnessed her break the state goal-record and take her place (fourth) among the greatest to ever do it on the high school level.
I was fortunate write about Tomoka Elementary’s Zeli Hayworth and his extraordinary achievement of not only winning the state Punt, Pass & Kick competition, but then winning the national competition. Six years ago, he was an orphan living in Africa.
Several weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting NFL Falcon Ricardo Allen, a Mainland alum. To host a — free — football camp just a few days after losing the Super Bowl the way Atlanta did really speaks volumes about him.
What about Father Lopez’s Lexi Duckett? After leading her team to the district title, she goes off for 48 points — 23 in the first quarter — in the region quarterfinals. That’s the most points I’ve seen scored on the HS level from a girl or boy.
Keeping in the same sport, I was there to watch FPC’s coach Gary McDaniel celebrate his first playoff victory with the Bulldogs in eight years. He had gotten close several times before this season.
This past winter, Matanzas soccer won its first district championship. They were finally able to overcome district powerhouse Ponte Vedra, which had eliminated the Pirates in the playoffs last season.
I can’t forget the Sandcrabs’ improbable comeback victory over West Jacksonville. They began the basketball game down 19-0 and trailed 39-17 at halftime. I had counted them out at 15-0.
Seabreeze wrestler Braden Buswell ended the Sandcrabs’ state qualifying and placing drought, and he now expects to blaze his own trail and become Seabreeze’s first state champion.
And last, but not least, the Bulldogs hired Mainland’s Travis Roland as head football coach. I personally don’t know a more deserving coach for the opportunity, and a lot of his peers and players agree.
Going forward, the future spring, fall and winter sports seasons will have to accomplish a lot to overtake this past winter season as the most accomplished.