- November 12, 2019
After going so long without sports — thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — the local sports scene has been jam-packed this past week with the first state championships of the year taking place in the pool and out on the links.
The First Academy girls golf team has become a shining example of dominance in a sport loaded with talent in the state, and that dominance continued at the Class 1A Girls Golf State Championships at Las Colinas - Mission Inn Resort and Club.
In the two-day tournament — which took place Nov. 3 and 4 — the Royals beat out perennial power Lake Mary Prep by seven strokes to win their third state title in the last six years.
On Day One, the Royals shot a team score of 292, before shooting a scorching 289 on Wednesday. Leading the way for the Royals was Bridget Ma, who finished tied for 10th place (73, 73; 146), and Olivia Lu, who finished in 12th place (72, 75; 147). Cissy Yang was not eligible to qualify for state individual honors, as the FHSAA requires participation in district and regional meets.
Not far behind the Royals, Windermere Prep finished its outing with a sixth-place finish (328, 319; 647). The Lakers were led by Ximiao Zhai, who shot a 78 on Day One and a 77 on Day Two to pick up a total of 155 — good enough to finish at No. 31.
Over at El Campeon, the TFA and Windermere Prep boys teams also showed out as the two teams finished tied for second place with Wolfson.
A year after claiming their first state title, the Royals (310,310; 620) were led to their second-place finish by new state champion Mohit Balaji (77, 68; 145). Teammate Leo Xu (78, 73; 151) rounded out the Top 10 for TFA.
Meanwhile, for Windermere Prep (313, 307; 620), it was a 10th-place finish for Tiago Barni (76, 75; 151) and a 14th-place finish for Camden Smith (76, 76; 152) that helped guide the Lakers to another top-three finish.
The area had several schools competing in the FHSAA Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart Saturday, Nov. 7, but it was Olympia and Windermere that walked away the biggest winners.
The Windermere girls, who finished No. 5 — two spots ahead of rival West Orange — saw big outings from Addison Reese, Hayley Clark and Antonina Harned. Reese grabbed third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly; Clark picked up fourth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 500 freestyle; and Harned finished state runner-up in diving — three places ahead of Olympia’s Julia Brown.
But it was on the boys side for Olympia — which finished tied for 15th place alongside West Orange — that saw its first state-title winner in years.
With a score of 490.90 in the diving event, senior Brandon Wegner took home the gold for the Titans, while teammate William Turnbull scored a 443.35 to take home second place in the same event.
“Brandon dove well, and he dove very clean,” said Olympia swim coach Kathy Zimmerman. “Billy actually hurt his shoulder two days before states, so he got through it. They’re both very talented boys.”
Along with Wegner and Turnbull, the Titans had four other state qualifiers in juniors Coby Scanlon, Kyle Holt, Ryan Fullerton and senior Eli Schweitzer — who competed in the 200 and 400 free relays.