By PATRICK CASEY
The Dodge Sunshine Cup All-Sports Awards were announced last week for all schools competing in high school athletics through the Florida High School Athletics Association. Two Walton County schools placed in the Top Ten in their respective classes for the 2008-09 school year. South Walton finished second among public schools in Class 3A as the Seahawks had a banner year in athletics with strong performances in football, boys basketball, tennis, track and field, soccer and softball. South Walton compiled 284 points in finishing second to powerhouse Gainesville P.K. Yonge. Paxton finished third among Class A public schools with 84 points, trailing only Graceville and Tallahassee FAMU.
The third 2009 YOLO Board Stand Up Paddle Series Race event was held on June 19 at the Baytowne Marina in Sandestin. Repeat victories occurred in both the Men’s Division and Women’s Division of the race. Sean Hughes, Joe Serrato, Andy Scheid and Justin Cook, members of the South Walton Lifeguards Black team won first for the men with a winning time of 19 minutes 6 seconds. Nancy Babin, Julie Ogle, Debbie Hunter, and Jackie Vreuls of the On the Coast Magazine team finished first in the women’s race with a time of 24 minutes 47 seconds. There were 11 men’s teams competing and seven women’s teams in this race, which was included as part of the festivities of the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic fishing tournament.
The Board of Directors of the Florida High School Athletic Association will hold a meeting on July 15 to once again discuss the reduction of high school contests in all sports except football. The threat of a Title IX lawsuit is likely going to force the board to rescind the previously passed edict, so area schools may get back the 25-game limit for 2009-2010. Though the FHSAA says this may cause several schools to eliminate junior varsity programs, shouldn’t the FHSAA have just left scheduling up to individual schools in the first place? A lot of schools do not play the maximum number of 25 games in baseball and softball since girls and boys basketball often overlaps those seasons on the calendar. This would be a big win for Paxton and Ponce de Leon, two Area 5 schools that do not have football to bring in revenue.
Wewahitchka softball coach Coy Adkins has decided to leave the program for a job at the University of Florida. Adkins, who coached Wewa to a 36-17 record in two seasons and a state title in 2008, will be a volunteer assistant for the Florida softball team. Adkins replaced Charles Fortner, who led Wewa to the state title in Class 2A in 2007, then retired. Adkins took over in 2008 and led Wewa back to another state title as pitcher Samantha Rich once again dominated as a junior. The 2009 season did not produce that kind of good fortune as Rich was injured in the fall and not allowed to pitch this past season, a year that saw Wewa go only 9-15 and get trampled by Port St. Joe, which nearly won the Class 2A crown in May.
Greg Jones has resigned as head baseball coach at Tallahassee Chiles after leading the Timberwolves to the Class 5A championship game in May. Jones, who has held the job for all 10 years of the relatively new school’s existence, led Leon High School to a state championship in baseball in 1998.
The University of West Florida has commissioned a study to determine the cost of adding a football team to the school. The Argonauts would play at the Division II level, though starting a Division II program is likely to cost at least $25 million.
UWF is also still looking for a men’s basketball coach. The list has been trimmed from 145 to 10 finalists. Local high school basketball coach Bob Stinnett is among the ten finalists, but his age (66) is causing some to consider how long he would be willing to stay with the program. A decision on the job should be made sometime this week.
The University of Florida has finished third in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, an award that recognizes the schools with the best overall sports performances in an academic year. The football team’s national championship led a program-record tying 12 Gator athletic teams among the nation’s top 10 in 2008-09 national competition, propelling the University of Florida to third in the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. The finish matches the second-highest for the Gator program, second only to Florida’s tie for second in the 1998-99 standings. Florida is the only program in the nation to finish among the nation’s top 10 in each of the last 26 national all-sports standings.
The Jacksonville University men’s basketball team will host the Florida Gators in a rematch of the first round NIT match-up this past season on Dec. 5, 2009, at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Dolphins and Florida have faced each other the past five seasons, with the series resuming in 2004 at the Arena. The two teams have met the past four seasons in Gainesville and JU will travel there for the 2010-11 season.
Contact Patrick Casey at The DeFuniak Herald with local sports notes at: firstname.lastname@example.org.