Ex-Farragut soccer player now thrives on football field
By NANCY MORGAN
Published December 18, 2005
Brett Kitenplon (Admiral Farragut) played club and high school soccer and didn't touch a football until the end of his junior year of high school.
This month, he was named to the Empire 8 all-star first team as a kicker.
It was his third consecutive all-star selection, having been named to the second team for his freshman and sophomore seasons at Ithaca (N.Y.) Kitenplon, who was an honorable mention pick for the Times All-Suncoast football team and Times all-Pinellas County baseball team in 2002, led the conference in extra point accuracy (93.8 percent) and was the highest-scoring kicker with 66 points.
"Near the end of my junior year of high school, a friend convinced me to do spring football," Kitenplon, 21, said. "I played one game and then spent part of that summer learning kicking basics from Carol White in Georgia, a former college coach who now runs camps for specialty team players.
"Then I kicked for the team my senior year of high school, and that summer, I trained with Tom Feely in Tampa."
Feely, who runs the Feely Kicking School, is the father of Jay Feely, kicker for the NFL's New York Giants.
Limited by his lack of experience, Kitenplon explored Division III schools for opportunities.
A visit to Ithaca was followed by a commitment.
Kitenplon and coach Mike Welch said they are pleased with his decision.
"When I saw Brett's recruiting tape, I was impressed and saw there was a lot of potential there," Welch said. "I look for a placekicker who is fundamentally sound and has good leg strength. In spite of his inexperience, I saw that in Brett.
"The placekicker position is a very skill-oriented position, much like that of a quarterback. Growing up in soccer made the transition to football easier for Brett because we now use the soccer-style kick rather than the straight-on for field goal kicking. I look for Brett to have a great senior season."
This season, Kitenplon made 45 extra points, one shy of a school record. In three seasons, Kitenplon has scored 186 points, fifth in school history.
"What a lot of people don't realize is that placekicking is a team sport," Kitenplon said. "You need a snapper, a holder and a kicker. Everything is about timing.
"The snapper needs to snap the ball at the same pace. The holder must hit the spot where my foot will kick, and I've got to hit that spot. I've had the most success because for the last 35 games, I've had the same snapper and holder."
Kitenplon keeps himself ready on the sideline by riding a stationary bike at a slow pace throughout the game. When summoned to kick, Kitenplon first visualizes the best kick he has ever made then takes the field to reproduce that kick.
After taking a month off, Kitenplon will begin preparing for his senior season with hopes of finishing in the top 10 nationally among Division III kickers and helping the Bombers qualify for the NCAA playoffs.
MORE FOOTBALL: Maryland's D'Qwell Jackson (Seminole) was named the ACC's defensive player of the year.
The senior linebacker led the conference in tackles with 137 and collected a career 447.
The Associated Press named Jackson second-team All-American, and the American Football Coaches Association placed Jackson on the first team.
Coast Guard punter Jesse Harms (Lakewood/Naval Academy Prep) was named first-team ECAC and all-region for Division III. The junior tied for the longest punt of the season at 81 yards.
Senior Jeff Ritch (Shorecrest) played in 12 of 13 games for Atlantic 10 champion Richmond, including against Furman in the Division I-AA quarterfinals.
St. Petersburg's Derek Hatcher (Berkeley Prep) played defensive back for Richmond in a 38-10 victory against Hampton.
Division I-A players heading to bowl games are: Harrison Beck (Countryside), a freshman quarterback with Nebraska for the Dec.28 Alamo Bowl; Jon Peattie (Countryside), a junior kicker/punter with Miami for the Dec.30 Peach Bowl; and Jay Davis (Clearwater), a senior quarterback with N.C. State for the Dec.31 Car Care Bowl.
DIVING: N.C. State freshman Austin Hampton (Admiral Farragut) is seventh in the ACC in the 1-meter. He has contributed to the team being ranked No.24 in the nation by finishing first six times.
Florida State sophomore Alex Tillbrook (Osceola) is second in the ACC in the 3-meter and ninth in the 1-meter.
SWIMMING: South Carolina senior Haley Skaggs (Northeast) swam a leg of the 400 medley relay in the Bulldog Invitational. The team broke a school record set in 1995 with a time of 3:44.06. Skaggs was seventh in the 100 freestyle.
VOLLEYBALL: Beverly Stasis (Countryside) followed up her impressive freshman season at Florida Southern by being named an All-American honorable mention.
Stasis was named to the first team of the all-South Region team chosen by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and first team by the sports information directors.
Stasis also was named to the all-conference and all-tournament first teams.
The sophomore outside hitter led the squad in kills with 529 and has recorded 1,111 kills and 850 digs in two seasons.
Florida Southern senior Rachael Konczal (Northeast) earned AVCA all-South Region honors and joined Stasis on the all-tournament squad and the first-team All-South Region team selected by sports information directors. Konczal was named to the all-conference second team.
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