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Top players, teams in the East

Published May 25, 2007



The high school sports season has no shortage of intriguing storylines in 2006-07: Chad Haschel announcing his retirement as Newsome's only baseball coach before leading the Wolves to the state semifinals. Armwood's three-year run of championship-game appearances in football ends in the regional finals. Here's a look at some of the top performances among athletes and coaches at eastern Hillsborough County's 11 high schools:

Top male athlete

Torrey Davis, Armwood

A University of Florida recruit who is rated by as the country's second-best defensive tackle. Anchored a defense that allowed just 11.6 points a game in reaching the region finals. In track, finished second in the state in the discus with a throw of 174 feet, 2 inches.

Other top performers: Eric Grajales, Brandon; Dentarius Locke, Riverview; Jason Taylor, Newsome.

Top female athlete

Marissa Kazbour, Bloomingdale

Kazbour, a Florida State recruit and U.S. Under-17 national team member, won the Jose Alvarez award as Hillsborough County's top prep soccer player. She led Bloomingdale in scoring for the third consecutive year.

Other top performers: Sara DeMuth, Durant; Ashley Milian, Riverview

Top coaching performance

Chad Haschel, Newsome baseball

After Haschel's late-season announcement that he was leaving Newsome to be an assistant principal at Brandon, his team won many close games and advanced to the state semifinals. His final-season legacy: the first winning record ever, a regional championship and a second-place finish in the Saladino Tournament.

Other coaching successes: Jessi Kowal, Newsome softball; Russ Cozart, Brandon wrestling; Kathy Dodd, Newsome girls soccer.

Most surprising performance

Newsome softball

With just one senior and hardly any preseason attention, Newsome's unexpected 17 regular-season wins included victories over traditional powers Plant, Durant and Academy of the Holy Names. The Wolves rolled through the district and regional tournaments before losing to West Boca Raton in the state semifinals.

Other surprising seasons: Newsome baseball, East Bay girls soccer.

Top team

Brandon wrestling

The unprecedented seventh-consecutive state title says it all. Four Eagles wrestlers won individual championships - Eric Grajales , Joey Cozart, Sean Joyce and Tom Timothy . Brandon now has 66 champions, more than twice as many as any other school in the state.

Other top teams: Armwood football, Bloomingdale baseball, girls soccer and girls volleyball; Newsome baseball, softball and girls soccer, Riverview flag football.

Best teamwork

Newsome baseball

College recruiters and pro scouts weren't blazing a trail to Lithia - only shortstop Stephen Branca has signed a Division I scholarship (Central Florida). Still, no team got more mileage from its players than the Wolves. Haschel preaches a family atmosphere, and the Wolves responded with the only state semifinal appearance in baseball-rich Hillsborough County.

Other notable teamwork: Riverview flag football, Newsome girls soccer and softball.

Top athletics program


In just four years, Newsome has become the deepest sports program in eastern Hillsborough County. There have been state Final Four appearances in baseball, softball and girls soccer, and second-place state finishes from swimmers Jason Taylor and Kelli Kyle. Newsome put a lot of teams in the playoffs, where they all did well.

[Last modified May 24, 2007, 07:48:03]

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