The annual dancing, singing, cheering and swimming meet — also known as the City Relays — will be contested in its full regalia Saturday at Bobby Hicks Pool.
Swimming (along with dancing and cheering) starts at 8 a.m. From there, Plant’s girls and Jesuit’s boys will compete to defend their titles, a scenario that appears to be a strong possibility.
“It’s a fun meet, but every year it’s a meet we try to win,” Plant coach Gil Gonzalez said before the season. “It’s also a chance to get a lot of swimmers involved in some competition.”
For the top swimmers — including Jesuit’s Austin Sellers and Plant’s Tyler Heath on the boys’ side and Academy’s Olivia Kirkpatrick and Plant freshman Morgan Tankersley for the girls — it’s an early measuring stick of their meet fitness.
One of the welcome additions this year to the traditional Hillsborough County teams is Berkeley Prep, which brings one of the strongest boys and girls teams it has had in years.
The Bucs, in fact, are strong contenders to take the overall title.
A similar fun-loving prep swimming event, The St. Pete Relays, will be held at the same time as the City Relays.
The St. Pete Relays begin at 9 a.m., and Tampa Prep will be right in the mix with the top Pinellas County schools, including perennial state title contenders East Lake and Palm Harbor University.
Watch for Terrapins Van Cates and Savannah Savitt, who should give some of the best swimmers from Pinellas County — which means some of the best in the state — a formidable challenge.
“The competition is going to be fantastic,” Tampa Prep coach Jason Bowes said. “We’re really looking forward to swimming against all those great swimmers.”
This weekend’s Academy of the Holy Names Invitational, a two-day, eight team tournament, will feature some of the top teams in Tampa Bay, seven of which reached the region playoffs in 2013.
The teams include Durant, East Lake, Tampa Prep and host Holy Names (Pool A); Bloomingdale, Berkeley Prep, Robinson and Steinbrenner (Pool B ). All but East Lake reached the postseason last season, with four of the teams advancing to the elite eight.
Three of those teams — Berkeley Prep, Robinson and Steinbrenner — moved on to the state semifinals.
Durant defeated Holy Names in the tournament championship last year.
Pool play begins Friday at 4 p.m., with the first- and second-place teams from each pool advancing to Saturday’s championship bracket. T
he championship match will be played Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
Newsome senior Tyler Bakich has already made his college choice, following in his mother’s footsteps and verbally committing to Florida State. This weekend, Bakich and teammate Kyle West head to Tallahassee to compete in the Florida State Varsity Club Golf Tournament at the Capital City Country Club. The tournament this season is honoring Bakich’s mother, FSU Hall of Famer and former LPGA standout Colleen Walker, who died in 2012.
“My dad got in touch with all of my mom’s friends up there, and they really have been working since 2012 on this tournament,” Bakich said. “It’s obviously special, and the fact that I’ll someday be an alumnus there makes it all the more special.”
Bakich said he has been looking forward to the event and is thankful his future college is remembering his mom’s career, which included earning the team’s MVP award in 1977 and 1978.
“My plan is to be involved as much as I can in the social activities around the university, that’s what my mom did, and that’s what I plan on doing,” Bakich said. “My dad and I are so thankful the university has done so much to get this tournament done.”
Bakich finished in a tie for second at last year’s Class 3A state tournament, helping the Wolves to a team runner-up finish.
Jefferson senior Daniel Erickson, who is on the Tribune’s preseason runners to watch list, has been nominated for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Community Heroes award. Erickson is a member of the Americas Promise Alliance, which was founded by former U.S. Secretary Of State Colin Powell, and was nominated for his efforts to help improve high school graduation levels.
If Erickson is selected for the award, he will be honored at a Lightning game and be presented with a $50,000 check to help further his efforts to improve graduation. Erickson said he should know within the next month if he is selected.
This Saturday will see a number of area teams competing out of the county. Cambridge Christian, Carrollwood Day, Newsome, Tampa Prep and Tampa Catholic are schedule to see action at the Holloway Park Jamboree in Lakeland. Holy Names, Chamberlain, Freedom, Plant, King, Robinson, Seffner Christian and Wharton will be at the Run With The Bulls Invitational in Wesley Chapel. Middleton’s Daniel Dean will travel to Estero to compete. Everyone will be in action next week with the East, Central and West Hillsborough Invitationals. The first major meet is Sept. 20, with the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on the campus of the University of Florida.
Scott Purks, Nick Williams, Jarrett Guthrie, Ben Henderson