Clearwater Central Catholic has advanced to consecutive Class 3A state semifinals. With strong senior leadership, coach Stephen Shepherd’s team will get an early-season test Tuesday against Calvary Christian.
“We have to be hungry for it this year,’’ Shepherd said before the season began. “We’ve been a game away from our goal two years in a row. Each time, we shot ourselves in the foot. Two years ago, we had 35 swinging errors, and last year we had 40. Our mantra this year is: don’t beat ourselves.”
Other teams to keep an eye on during the volleyball season include Palm Harbor and Seminole.
East Lake will take part in the Academy of the Holy Names Invitational, a two-day, eight team tournament that begins Friday. The competition will be tough, as the other seven teams in the field, all from Hillsborough County, reached the postseason a year ago.
The East Lake Golf Invitational is Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Lansbrook Golf Club in Palm Harbor. It’s the first major 18-hole event of the season. East Lake, Countryside, Seminole, Clearwater Central Catholic and Palm Harbor University will be representing Pinellas County.
East Lake High’s Michelle Turek, the 14th-ranked senior in the state by collegeswimming.com, committed Tuesday night to Auburn University.
Her teammate, Sydney Pickrem, ranked No.1 in the state, plans to visit Florida, Indiana, Michigan and Texas A&M.
You can see Turek and Pickrem in action Saturday at the St. Pete Relays at the North Shore Pool beginning at 9 a.m.
Hillborough County’s 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 Tampa Prep’s 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.”
Gibbs’ Barry Brown, one of the top players in Pinellas County for the class of 2015, committed to Kansas State.