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Success spreads top to bottom for Warhawks

Seminole High excels in many sports on its way to the All-Sports award.

Published June 17, 2003

[Times photo: Cherie Diez]
Some of the athletes who led Seminole to the Times All-Sports award, from left: Kevin Magee, cross country and track; Luis Leon, swimming; Corey Ahern, soccer; Joey Fabrizio, football and wrestling; Jen Hansen, volleyball and basketball; and Marcus Henry, basketball. Magee and Henry will be seniors in the fall. All others have graduated.

Nine banners are missing from Seminole's gymnasium. They have been sent out to add this year's district championships. The boys soccer banner will come back boasting a state title.

With those accomplishments as a starting point, Seminole is the winner of the Times All-Sports award for the second time in three years. The Warhawks won in 2001 with the help of their state championship baseball team.

After the final standings for each team from each school were tallied, Seminole topped the list with 655 points. Durant finished second with 635, and Plant, which won the award last year, was third with 615.

In addition to the two recent All-Sports awards, Seminole took the 2001-02 honor of being named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association's Athletic Program of the Year. "That just validated what we already knew here; that we have a tremendous coaching staff and a tremendous pool of student-athletes in this school," Seminole principal Rick Misenti said. "I think that validation just carried over into this year."

Football, swimming, cross country and baseball have remained consistent. And there were a few special moments as well, such as the boys soccer team winning its first state title in 21 years and the volleyball team winning its first district championship.

Misenti, who just completed his second year as principal, said he tried to see as many events as possible.

In March, he drove to Naples to watch the girls basketball team get its program-best 29th win, beating Gulf Coast 60-51. The Warhawks advanced to the region final, a first for the program. In April, Misenti gripped the chain-linked fence bordering Seminole's tennis courts to watch the boys team win a district title, and he traveled in May to see the Warhawks fall at Fort Myers 7-2 in the baseball region semifinals.

"I never thought about not going," Misenti said.

And of course he was in Tampa at Pepin Stadium pacing the sideline during the Warhawks' Class 3A state championship soccer game against Tallahassee Leon. After Seminole survived two overtimes and won 1-0 in penalty kicks, he rushed the field like one of the boys on the team. Misenti said the title, which cost him his hair in a bet with the team, was the year's most memorable moment.

"I think it's a great honor," said Rick Masi, Seminole's boys soccer coach for 11 years. "It's a tribute to the whole program from the administrators who support us from the players to the parents. I'm honored to help contribute to win this."

[Last modified June 17, 2003, 01:48:03]

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