- May 26, 2021
The First Academy Royals varsity softball team capped off a 23-6 season by winning the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A State Championship, defeating Jacksonville’s University Christian 8-2 Wednesday, May 25, at Legends Way Softball Complex, Clermont.
In her sixth season as the Royals head coach, Kaley Gangelhoff led the team to the title game after defeating Evangelical Christian 3-0 Tuesday, May 24. Senior left-handed pitcher Hannah Harper pitched all seven innings in Tuesday and Wednesday’s Championship Series games and finished the Championship with a line of 7IP, 5Ks 3BB and 8H. Harper was named the 2022 FACA 2A District 11 Player of the year.
Senior Camille Mackedon and sophomore Alexis Zerquera led the Royals from the plate; each went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs, including a three-run homer from Zerquera in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Wednesday’s championship win was the Royals' first state title in school history. Along the path to their 23-6 season, TFA defeated Orlando Christian Prep 4-0 for the Class 2A, District 7 Championship and Mount Dora Christian Academy 4-0 for the Class 2A Region 2 Championship.
The Royals graduated two seniors in the 2022 season, including Harper, who will go on to pitch at the University of West Florida, and shortstop Camille Mackedon, who had the game-winning catch in the title game. Mackedon and Harper made the FACA All-State team, along with junior second baseman Mollie Duling, sophomore catcher Molly Sheridan and sophomore first baseman Alexis Zerquera. Harper, Mackedon, Duling, Sheridan and sophomore flex player Grace Grant also were named to the FACA All-Academic team.
The championship is not the only gold the Royals earned this year. Earlier in May, senior Will Richards took home the FHSAA state title in track and field for the boys long jump, with a jump of 6.92 meters (22 feet, 8.5 inches). The softball title win also comes exactly one year after the Royals baseball team took home the Class 3A State Championship in 2021.