By ROD GIPSON
Players rack up college scholarships
TAMPA -- Hillsborough County saw an unprecedented number of prep athletes signed for college scholarships Wednesday, and the north of Tampa area was well represented. By the time the dust settled, 34 county football players had disclosed their college plans.
Chamberlain led the pack with six signees. The Chiefs' standout defensive lineman Broderick Bunkley signed with Florida State. Linebacker Oliver Hoyte and wide receiver Brian Clark will attend North Carolina State. Running back Eddie Lee Ivery will attend Georgia Tech, while linebacker Jared Baxley will play for the Air Force Academy. Rounding out the group is wide receiver Sam Culberth, who will attend Division II school Gannon in Erie, Pa.
Other players committing to schools included Sickles fullback/linebacker Ryan Roeling, who will attend the Naval Academy, and Gaither noseguard Antwan Coles, who will play at Tuskegee. Leto offensive lineman Gilbert Perez has yet to make a college choice, but is weighing Navy, Air Force and USF.
Though it was a day mainly for football players, another local athlete unveiled her college plans. Standout Gaither soccer goalkeeper Michelle Kmiotek signed with East Carolina.
BOYS SOCCER: Gaither pulled off the biggest upset of its season Feb. 7 when it knocked off Manatee 2-1 in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals. The Cowboys got goals from Travis Bourguignon and Jared Rose to beat Manatee, which was 29-0-1 before the game and ranked second nationally by StudentSports.com. Gaither (18-6) advances to the semifinals to face Boca Raton Olympic Heights on Tuesday.
In other action, Leto lost 3-1 to Durant in the Class 3A regionals. The Falcons and Cougars were deadlocked at 1 at 19 minutes into the second half when Julio Valle scored a goal, but the Cougars eventually pulled away. Leto ends the season at 7-9-3.
BOYS BASKETBALL: The boys district tournaments tip-off Tuesday with Leto hosting the Class 5A, District 8 event. The Falcons will compete for the crown with Wharton, Alonso, Chamberlain, Hillsborough and King. Gaither will travel to Sarasota Riverview to play in the Class 6A, District 5 tournament. In addition to the Cowboys and Rams, the event also will feature Bloomingdale, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice. Sickles, playing in the Class 4A, District 9 tournament will face off with Blake, Armwood, Brandon, Jefferson, Tampa Bay Tech and host Plant.
GIRLS SOCCER: The best season in Sickles girls soccer history came to a quick end Tuesday as the Gryphons fell to Lakewood Ranch 1-0 in the Class 3A regionals. The Gryphons won their first district championship (3A-9) in the program's five-year history and finished the season 15-3-4.
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