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From left: Julia Rivera, Chris Bailey and Stefania Bertone. COURTESY PHOTO
Palm Coast Thursday, May 12, 2011 9 years ago

COLLEGE BOUND

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by: Andrew OBrien Contributing Writer

Here are four athletes from Matanzas High School who will be taking their talents to the college game.

Sam Mkrtychev
Sport: Tennis
School: Flagler College

Sam Mkrtychev, who played tennis for Matanzas High School, signed a full athletic scholarship to play tennis at Flagler College, in St. Augustine.

Flagler College is a Division II member of the National College Athletic Association and also a member of the Peach Belt Conference.

Mkrtychev was the No. 1 singles player for the Pirates the past three seasons after playing No. 4 on varsity as a freshman. In his senior season, Mkrtychev finished 10-2 and won the district and conference before finishing third in Class 2A.

Prior to Mkrtychev’s senior season, he lost in the district finals in his sophomore and junior seasons.

“Sam is a very dedicated tennis player,” said coach Rich Cottingham. “He trains every day after school. Even after some of our matches this year, he went to the gym.

“He’s on the offensive almost 100% of the time, and the kid he is playing is running back and forth doing anything he can to get the ball back over the net. And there’s Sam, just slamming it back at him.”

Chris Bailey
Sport: Cross country, track and field
School: Emmanuel College

Chris Bailey, who ran cross-country and track-and-field for Matanzas High School, will be signing a full athletic scholarship to Emmanual College, in Franklin Springs, Ga.

Emmanuel is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and also of the Southern States Athletic Conference.

Bailey was a member of the Pirates’ 4x800-meter relay team that qualified for the state meet and also part of the state-qualifying cross-country team.

Bailey also holds the Matanzas record in the 1,600 meters with a time of 4 minutes, 36 seconds. This was the first year running for Bailey.

“The progress Chris made this year as a first-year runner was tremendous,” said Pirates coach James Wolfe. “He has an outstanding work ethic and has an excellent future in running ahead of him.”

Julia Rivera
Sport: Cross country and track & field
School: Chattahoochee Technical College

Julia Rivera, who ran cross country and track and field for Matanzas High School, will be signing a letter of intent to run at Chattahoochee Technical College, in Marietta, Ga.

Chattahoochee Technical College is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, and also of the Georgia College Athletic Association.

Rivera ran track for four years and cross-country for three years, and was captain of both teams her senior year. Rivera was part of two state-qualifying cross-country teams (2009 and 2010) and was also named to the All-Conference team in 2009. Rivera has run a variety of events spanning the 400 meters to the 3,200 meters.

“Julia has outstanding leadership abilities and an amazing attitude,” said Pirates coach James Wolfe.

Stefania Bertone
Sport: Cross country and track & field
School: Chattahoochee Technical College

Stefania Bertone, who ran cross-country and track-and-field for Matanzas High School, will be signing a letter of intent to run at Chattahoochee Technical College, in Marietta, Ga.

This was Bertone’s first year in both cross-country and track. In track, she was a specialist in the 800 meters and also part of the 4x800-meter relay team, which missed qualifying for states despite running a school-record time of 10:19 at regionals.

Bertone was also a member of the state-qualifying cross-country team.

“Stefania was always a little bit reluctant to believe she had distance talent, but she excelled in nearly every event she was placed in and became a very valuable member of both (teams),” said Pirates coach James Wolfe.

Contact Andrew O’Brien at [email protected].

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