The Lady Pirates made school history, and Michael Peppin made FPC history.
Both Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas were stunned after regionals last year. The Pirates failed to send anyone to states, and the Bulldogs had only sent four. This year was different for Matanzas.
Led by their five state qualifiers, the Lady Pirates placed third in the Region 2-3A Meet on Saturday, April 29. That was a school best for them.
“I knew we were doing well, but I didn’t know we were doing that well,” said Danny Weed, the Pirates’ head track coach. “So, it feels great, especially after what happened last year.”
The Pirates were led by senior Kylie Dahlberg, who won the 800-meter run by .07 seconds and clinched her first region title. She also helped win the 4x800 relay with Isabella Rodriguez, Rain Marti and Morgan Sharman.
“I was scared I wasn’t even going to get out of that race,” Dahlberg said, “because I was ranked eighth.”
Including boys, Matanzas is sending 11 total to states, which is a school record and caused Weed to acknowledge as his teams’ best year thus far.
“We focus on the postseason,” Weed said. “We’re here for the outcomes in the postseason, so this is great.”
Peppin wins FPC’s only region title
Two days prior, Flagler Palm Coast senior Michael Peppin had won his first region title, in the discus throw.
Peppin placed eighth in state last season, which was the highest any Bulldog had placed for the discus throw. He received energized congratulations from his parents, teammates and most of his coaches — except one.
FPC assistant coach Steve Collier casually shook his hand and congratulated him. Peppin expected more, so he texted him later that night and asked why there was a lack of enthusiasm.
“His response was, ‘I'm happy you placed eighth, but I know you can do better,’” Peppin said. “And now this year, I'm doing things I've never done before because of his coaching.”
Whether it’s Peppin, Dahlberg or others who finished Top 4 at regionals to qualify for state, everyone is hoping for a podium finish (Top 6).