By DAVE THEALL
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2000
A former Clearwater High basketball standout is leading his New England college team in its drive toward the NCAA tournament.
Senior point guard Jake Postorino, 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, and a three-year starter at Emerson College (13-6) in Boston, looks forward to closing his college career on a winning note. That involves winning the Division III Great Northeast Athletic Conference title and gaining the automatic bid to the championship tournament.
"This is it for me -- my final run," said Postorino in a phone interview. "I want to make the most of it. We won the conference title when I was a sophomore and it would be great to win it again this year."
Emerson got back on course Tuesday in a hard-fought 84-82 victory over Suffolk University in which Postorino scored eight points and tried to contain Suffolk's top scorer. In the process, he fouled out with 2 minutes to play.
"We led all the way and he got most of his 20 points late in the game," Postorino said. "My main job is to get the offense going, set up the plays getting the ball to the scorers."
He averages 10.5 points per game, five assists, two steals and 11/2 turnovers per game. He is second on the team in field-goal accuracy, hitting 64 percent, and second from the free-throw line at 79 percent.
"Division III basketball in New England, with about 65 small colleges playing it, is very competitive, not like Florida," Postorino said. "It's been a great experience here; I actually enjoy the cold weather, but I'm also glad I play indoors."
Postorino said that after he graduates this spring with a degree in media arts, focusing on film and television, he plans to come back to Clearwater for a while before heading west to Los Angeles to get into the film business.
Postorino followed his brother Josh, a three-year starter at Dayton University in the Atlantic 10 Conference, at Clearwater High. And there are more Postorinos in the pipeline at Oak Grove Middle School.
"Watch for my brother Luke, who moves up to Clearwater High next fall," Jake said, "and young Mike, who's two years behind him. They are both basketball players too."
SOUTH CAROLINA: David Ross, a former Suncoast player of the year at Boca Ciega, is beginning to hit his stride for the Gamecocks in the tough Southeastern Conference.
Starting his third consecutive game at small forward Wednesday night against Mississippi, the 6-foot-7 Ross kept South Carolina in the game by hitting from his favorite distance -- three-point range. He connected on 3-of-4 from the arc and was 4-of-6 overall for 11 points before fouling out with 13 seconds left in the 83-75 loss.
Ross, who wears No. 00, scored eight of his points in the second half. He also contributed four rebounds and two assists as the Gamecocks fell to 9-14.
In his two previous starts, the junior scored 11 points in a loss to the visiting Florida Gators and nine in a loss at Kentucky.
"David knows his role and plays his role," coach Eddie Fogler said. "He's a team leader who was unanimously elected team co-captain. He's a leader who hates to lose; I wish I had more like him."
TRACK AND FIELD: Char Foster (Clearwater Central Catholic/Ridgewood High) is running for the No. 2-ranked South Carolina women's indoor track team. LSU is again ranked No. 1.
Foster earned All-America honors in two outdoor events at last spring's NCAA Championships. One was as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team, which clocked a school-record 3:35.90, and the other was in the 400-meter hurdles where she clocked 57.89 seconds.
At Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Erin Giesa (Northside Christian) is getting ready for the outdoor track season since Samford doesn't have an indoor schedule. Her first meet will be on March 4 at Jacksonville. Giesa, a former state champion in the 1,600-meter event, ran on the Bulldogs' cross country team last fall, placing first, second and third on the team.
At Florida State, Jason Dean (Clearwater High), the Seminoles' No. 1 pole vaulter, broke his wrist while competing last weekend and will be out for an indefinite period.
VOLLEYBALL: Back at Samford, freshman Abby Miner (Pinellas Park), a 6-foot outside hitter, started every game and led the Bulldogs in digs with 387 and was second on the team with 321 kills.
TENNIS: At Georgia, three former Pinellas players will be counted on to try to help the Bulldogs regain the SEC women's title and make a run at the NCAA title.
They are the Grey sisters from Seminole High, Christa, a junior, and Lori, a freshman, and senior Marissa Catlin, a graduate of Anchor Academy in Dunedin.
Catlin, who earned All-America honors as a freshman in 1997, has a career singles record of 99-24 at Georgia despite battling illness during her sophomore and junior seasons. At last week's Rolex Indoor Championships, she lost her opening match.
At the same tournament, Lori Grey also lost her opening match. Grey, who had a 14-8 record in the fall season, is ranked No. 19 in the nation by the International Tennis Association.
Christa enters the indoor season with a lifetime record of 65-32.
BASEBALL: Kurt Abbott (Dixie Hollins/SPJC) will be in spring training with his fourth major league team this season. He has been signed by the New York Mets after playing last season for the Colorado Rockies. He was signed originally by the Oakland A's and later played second base for the world champion Florida Marlins.
Kris Wilson (Tarpon Springs/Georgia Tech) will report to spring training with the Kansas City Royals on March 2 at Haines City. Last season the 6-4 right-hander was 14-8 with the Double A Texas League champion Wichita Wranglers.
"I expect I'll start the season with Wichita this year but hope to be called up to the Royals in September," said Wilson, who was the Times all-Pinellas first-team quarterback in high school as well as baseball player of the year. "My fastball has been clocked at 94 miles an hour but I'm a control pitcher with a good slider; I try to mix it up and be a complete pitcher."
Wilson was named Georgia Tech's outstanding pitcher in 1995 and '97. Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was named the Yellow Jackets' MVP in 1994.
Right-handed pitcher Dan Stillman (East Lake/Pasco-Hernando Community College) has transferred to Central Florida. He joins Tarpon standout Matt Bowser, who enters the 2000 season with a career batting average of .346. Bowser was a 10th-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997 coming out of high school.