These are the top five sports moments from 2018.
Flagler Palm Coast swimmer Micayla Cronk made history in 2017 when she won the state championship in the 100-yard freestyle as a freshman for the Bulldogs. This year, however, Cronk competed in two events at the Class 4A state championship on Nov. 10 at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart: the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyles. The 200 was her first event of the day, and she finished with a time of 1:46.68 to win gold. It was also the first time she went sub-1:47.00 in the event. Cronk also dominated in the 100, finishing with a time of 49.43 to win by more than a second. Cronk is a three-time state champion, and she's only 15 years old.
Jones captures Matanzas' first-ever state title
Tyrone Jones spent three years on FPC's wrestling team before transferring to crosstown rival Matanzas for his senior year. Jones joined the Pirates' wrestling team, as well. Jones performed well, qualifying to compete in the 145-pound weight class in the Class 2A state championship on March 3 at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Justin Swilling was the only Pirate to ever qualify for the state final prior to Jones, doing so in 2008. After being down 4-2, Jones fought back to defeat Brandon’s Andreus Bond to win the title. In doing so, Jones became the first athlete in Matanzas history to ever win a state championship.
Holder joins FPC wrestling history
The Bulldogs have a long tradition of wrestling greatness extending all the way back to when Steven DeAugustino, who is now the school's athletics director, was the head coach of the team. The Bulldogs' Avery Holder, who won a state wrestling title in the 126-pound class in 2017, joined rare company after capturing the Class 3A state title in the 132-pound class. Holder and Mike Fries, who won back-to-back titles in 1998-99, are the only Bulldogs wrestlers to win multiple individual state titles.
FBCA wins middle school state championship
First Baptist Christian Academy didn't have a middle school team prior to 2018. The coaches didn't know what to expect when the kids showed up for practice in the spring. However, the Crusaders went undefeated during the regular season this year and met Newberry in the state final on Nov. 9 in Bunnell. They were up 26-6 in the third quarter, but Newberry battled back to tie the game. The Crusaders moved the ball downfield on the ensuing drive in attempt to take the lead. On third-and-2 with 35 seconds remaining, quarterback D.J. Murray found receiver Jordan Mills wide open. He hit Mills for what would be the game-winning touchdown. The best part: Mills couldn't see the ball when it was thrown to him. The field's lights blinded him.
Buchanan goes for gold
At 15 years old, FPC girls weightlifter Lexi Buchanan has the opportunity so few have had in high school weightlifting: to become a two- or even three-time state champion. Competing against the stiffest competition in the state in the unlimited weight class in the Class 2A state championship on Feb. 3 at Panama City Beach’s Arnold High School, Buchanan failed on her first two attempts of the clean-and-jerk. However, she managed to clean-and-jerk 175 pounds on her final try, and her 250-pound bench press gave her a 425 total. It was good enough to edge out Oviedo’s Alexi Jones by five points to ensure Buchanan’s first state title.