By NANCY MORGAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001
Playing college baseball was Corey Slavik's top goal when he graduated from Boca Ciega four years ago.
The senior at Wake Forest University has enjoyed three stellar seasons with the three-time defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion. This year should be no different.
"I knew I wanted to play college baseball," said Slavik, a first-team All-South and All-County selection his senior season for Boca Ciega's Pirates. "I didn't have many places to go, and I would've done anything to get a chance."
Slavik learned the Deacons were looking for a catcher, so he began practicing for that position, along with continuing to hone his third-base skills. Coaches saw his strengths and moved him to third. In his first collegiate at bat, Slavik homered.
"It's been a great experience playing at Wake Forest and in the ACC," said the 21-year-old. "You have good competition every time you go out and play. Our area at home has a lot of good talent, but here you see it every single day."
In a game against No. 10 Clemson last month, Slavik ripped a double to contribute to a 12-3 victory. Against Old Dominion last week, he hit another double in a 13-8 win for the Deacons (19-7). Slavik's defensive skills and a .327 batting average provide optimism for a future in the pros.
"I hope to be get drafted," said Slavik, a communications major. "I want to play professionally and haven't really thought about what else I would do."
BASEBALL: Ben Elbe (Largo), a sophomore left-hander for Wake Forest, has pitched in three games and allowed no runs.
Patrick Boyd (CCC), a second-team preseason All-American at Clemson, has been sidelined with a back injury. In his only appearance this season, the senior outfielder connected for a double to score two runs. Boyd hopes to return to action in mid-April against South Carolina.
Florida State freshman Marc LaMacchia (East Lake) earned his fourth victory in a 12-3 rout of North Carolina State. The right-hander pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits.
Saint Leo first baseman Trevor Hall (Countryside) is batting .390 for the 23-12 Lions. He leads the team in home runs with 8 and in RBI with 39.
Left-hander Steve Palinkas (Countryside) has pitched in 10 games and started one for the University of North Florida. He has a 1-2 record, 3.98 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 31 innings. SOFTBALL: Dawn Wallace (Dunedin), a second-team all-Sunshine State Conference catcher at the University of Tampa, is this season's team captain.
Wallace is batting .327 and leads the Spartans in hits (27) and runs scored (14).
Senior Kelli Lightner (Clearwater/Lake City Community College) was named to the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic all-tournament team.
The pitcher earned a 2-1 record with a 2.62 ERA. She hit .364 with two home runs. For the season, Lightner is 12-8 with a 1.81 ERA and 119 strikeouts.
A contingent of freshmen from Pinellas have contributed to a 24-8 record and No. 7 national ranking for Central Florida Community College. Kristen Keyes (Clearwater) is leading the state in strikeouts with 238 and has a .391 batting average. Third baseman April Coggins (Tarpon Springs) is second in the state in hitting (.500).
Shortstop Diane Korcak (Countryside) is batting .450. Catcher Lndsay Ijjar (CCC) is tops in the state and tied for second in the nation in homers (5). Second baseman Brooke Massey (Clearwater) is hitting .388.
BASKETBALL: Center Marshall Sanders (Dixie Hollins) contributed 13 points and was named to the all-tournament team after helping lead Kentucky Wesleyan to its eighth NCAA Division II championship. Lee Burton (Clearwater) was the top scorer for Santa Fe in the Mid-Florida Conference Tournament. He recorded 23 points in a 73-61 victory over Central Florida in the final.
Shinikki Whiting (Clearwater) contributed eight points in FSU's 72-70 win over Tulane in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In an 85-70 second-round loss to Iowa State, Whiting scored 11.
SWIMMING: Robert Margalis (Clearwater) qualified for the World Championships in Japan this summer.
To qualify, Margalis, a freshman at the University of Georgia, won the 400-meter freestyle at last month's Phillips 66 Senior National Championships in Texas.
Sarah Wooten (CCC) broke two junior college records in the NJCAA swimming championships.
Wooten set a national record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56:95 and in the 200-yard back in 2:02.89. Wooten, who transferred to Indian River Community College this year after being out of school due to illness, set a personal best in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24:22.
Jamie Armstrong (CCC) finished second in the 100-yard butterfly and sixth in the 100 free for Clark University in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). The sophomore broke a school record in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 29.37 in the 200-yard medley relay.
WRESTLING: Jared Frayer (Countryside) earned All-American status at the NCAA Championships.
Seeded eighth in the 149-pound class, the University of Oklahoma junior fell to the No. 4 seed in the semifinals, but returned to defeat the No. 7 to finish fourth overall. Frayer earned a career-high 38 wins, including 19 pins, agains eight losses.
TRACK & FIELD: Indiana University sophomore Rose Richmond (Lakewood) was to split the weekend with the Hoosiers competing in the Florida Relays in Gainesville and the Purdue Open in Lafayette, Ind.
Richmond, who gained All-American status her freshman year, recently set a career-best 100-meter run in a time of 12.28 and the long jump (6.12 meters).
Florida State senior Jason Dean (Clearwater) won the pole vault event at the FSU Relays with a jump of 16-4.75 earned the win for the two-time defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion.
Dean's personal best is 16-11.
GYMNASTICS: University of Denver freshman Ashley Shible (East Lake) set a school record -- the third time this season -- in the all-around with a 39.625.
Shible also won the vault and uneven bars events with 9.95 scores. The No. 23 Pioneers set a team record in total points with 196.625 to handily defeat both the Air Force Academy and Texas Women's University.
Erin Signoracci (East Lake) has been battling a knee injury and has seen limited action at West Virginia University.
Signoracci scored a 9.8 on the uneven bars to contribute to the Mountaineers team high against Kent State. No. 17 WVU is headed to the NCAA Regional Championships Saturday in Utah.