Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Honorable Mention Stories of the Year: Part III Spring

We look back at some of the top high school sports moments of the 2016-2017 school year from around the First Coast area. Whether its football, volleyball, swimming or cross country, we look back at another amazing year in high school sports.

We began with the fall and continued in Part II with the winter and now we release Part III spring; before releasing our top ten stories of the year.


When the boys weightlifting state meet was held April 7-8 at Deland, who would have thought it would be dominated by the First Coast area ? Between two classes, 19 area teams placed in the Top 32 of their respective classes. In Class 2A, Fort Walton Beach Choctaw claimed the team title with 29 points, just ahead of runner-up Columbia, who finished with 22 points. Bartram Trail was fifth with 15 points, Fleming Island tied for ninth with eight points and Middlburg placed twenty fourth. Individual state titles from Andy Montalvo (119) and Kamario Bell (199) helped Columbia. Other notable performances included runner-up finishes from Tyler Ngyuen (154) from Fleming Island, Alex Newman (169) from Bartram Trail, Will Newman (183) along with a third place finish Derontae Jordan (183) from Columbia, Andrew Mims (219) from Bartram Trail and Robbie Moon (heavyweight) along with fourth place finishes from Tyler Braswell (119) from Middleburg, Franco Bello (169) from Fleming Island, Jakobie Baker (183) from Oakleaf and Jason Manalo (199) from Fleming Island.

At the Class 1A boys weightlifting meet, Madison County held off state power Baker County 22-21 to win the 1A state title. While area teams Keystone Heights was third with 14 points, Interlachen and Union County tied for fourth with 9 points, Bradford sixth with 8 points and Cedar Creek Christian finished in a five way tie for seventh with 7 points along with Pedro Menendez.  Notable finishes were D’Marques Johnson (1st, 119) from Cedar Creek, Taylor Beall (3rd, 129) from Keystone Heights, Brandon Sprivey (2nd, 139) from Keystone Heights, Dylan Bass (4th, 139) from Union County, Chris Roller (4th, 139) from Baker County, Dalton Simon (1st, 154) from Baker County, Taro Ward (4th, 154) from Bradford County, Clayton Canaday (1st, 169) from Baker County, Chance Terrell (2nd, 169) from West Nassau, Justin Raysin (3rd, 183) from Keystone Heights, Seth Bradshaw (1st, 199) from Menendez, Armani Scott (4th, 199) from Hilliard, Andre Hampton (2nd, 219) from Union County, Marcus Jones (5th, 219) from Clay and Kyle Griffis (4th, Heavyweight) from Baker County.

The last week of April was the boys and girls tennis state tournament held at various courts around the Orlando area. Creekside, Ponte Vedra and Episcopal all advanced to the girls Final Four, while Bartram Trail and Bolles advanced to the boys state semifinals as well. While no team was able to bring home a state title trophy, the boys and girls doubles teams from  Rougel Aninon/Gavin Mattiace and Lauren Derstine/Victoria Lynch all from Stanton, became the first pair of doubles team from the same school to ever advance to the state finals the same year from Jacksonville. In individual singles, Suwannee’s Alexander McMillan and Bishop Kenny’s Carrigan Blanchard both lost their semifinal matches.

A day after the tennis tournament wrapped up, the state lacrosse state finals were held Feb 29 in Jupiter. Bolles, Fletcher, Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine all made the boys and girls playoffs but only the Ponte Vedra girls would make it to the state semifinals. Ponte Vedra moved through the bracket with wins over St. Augustine 15-9, Winter Park 10-9 and Oak Hall 13-10, before falling to eventual state champion Bishop Moore 19-12 in the semifinals.


The first weekend in May showcased the best track and field teams in the state at IMG all weekend. In the women’s meet, the only local team to have any success was Bolles, who easily won the Class 2A state title over Plantation American Heritage. Raines gave everything it had but came up short finishing third in the Class 2A meet behind Hallandale and Plantation American Heritage, while Bolles (fifth), Palatka (sixth) and Bishop Kenny (tenth) all finished in the top ten as well. Creekside finished second behind Miami Northwestern in the 3A team title with just 7 points separating them. In the most highly anticipate race of the meet, the 4×100 relay came down to a near photo finish as Miami Christopher Columbus  edged Sandalwood 40.97-41.02 to win the 4×100 relay. The Sandalwood foursome of Michael Merriweather, Julian House, Andre Griffin and Ameer Speed had looked unbeatable all year and were heavy favorites to win the race.

Parker, Fleming Island and Clay were the three local girls flag football teams to advance to the state playoffs; however Clay knocked off Parker in the first round and both Fleming Island which knocked off host Deland in the first round  and Clay both fell in the next round on the road at Dr. Phillips and Fort Walton Beach Choctaw. Parker won its third straight district title this season but still hasn’t advanced past the second round yet, while Clay surprised arch-rival Orange Park to win its first district title and went into Choctaw undefeated.


Battling numerous weather delays during the week and games backed up several hours didn’t seem to bother both Bolles and Nease in Fort Myers at the state baseball tournament. Both teams took different routes to get to Fort Myers, with Bolles the defending state champions and Nease seem to coming from no where to get there. Wins over Fernandina Beach 14-2, arch-rival Bishop Kenny 9-1 and Marianna 9-3 put Bolles in the state tournament. A gut wrenching 2-1 win over Pompano Beach advanced the Bulldogs into the state championship game where they easily rolled Bishop Moore 7-2 to win their second straight Class 5A state title. Nobody gave Nease much of a chance to do anything in the Class 7A playoffs yet Nease kept proving the doubters wrong with wins over Vanguard 5-3, arch-rival St. Augustine 18-3 and the stunner 5-4 over Tate to advance to the state semifinals. Despite a late start due to weather delays, Nease held off Dwyer 2-1 to make the state finals, where they annihilated Tampa King 11-0 to win the Panthers (20-11) first ever state title.