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Area teams now favorites

Growth forces the FHSAA to cut District 6 in half and remove five-time champion Lakeland Christian.

By LAURA LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 22, 2002


Growth forces the FHSAA to cut District 6 in half and remove five-time champion Lakeland Christian.

It might be easier this fall for Pinellas County schools to advance in the district tournament thanks to the Florida High School Activities Association.

The FHSAA has restructured its district classifications, cutting the district of mostly area schools in half.

Bayshore Christian, Calvary Christian, Canterbury and Pinellas Christian Home School are now alone in District 6. Gone from the previous configuration, along with other schools, is Lakeland Christian, which has played for the championship six times in the past 10 years and won five titles overall.

Calvary coach Dave Bintz said the change is good for his team and that the Warriors finally have a chance at winning a district title. Calvary, a 3-year-old school, played Lakeland in the first round of districts last year and lost 8-2.

"Competition-wise, we're probably considered a favorite for our first district championship," Bintz said.

Lakeside was assigned to be in District 6 as well, but the school doesn't have a team this year. And Oldsmar Christian, which was once in the larger group, chose not to participate.

Jack Watford, director of communications for the FHSAA, said the geographic size of a northern district, which included teams from Gainesville, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, was getting too big with the addition of new schools from the western Panhandle.

The number of districts in the state has grown from eight to 16. Most districts were simply cut in half, Watford said.

The only major change besides the number of districts is the addition of another round at the region tournament.

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