Two top athletes, two paths
By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
Fact is, beyond their overall athletic success, Skidmore and Atwood couldn't be more dissimilar. Atwood was the leader behind two of the more successful team efforts in Citrus County this season while Skidmore seems to epitomize the highs and lows of the individual effort.
One's success is predicated on bringing up the level of her teammates. The other's rests solely on his own shoulders. If there is any similarity, it is the tenacity they bring to their respective sports, a voracious appetite for success that led both to the top. "You have to be dedicated," said Skidmore, who finished as a state runner-up for the second consecutive season in wrestling and posted a sixth-place finish at the state weightlifting meet.
"(Wrestling) needs to be one of the most important things in your life. Otherwise, you won't be successful. You have to give it everything you have."
Few could argue Atwood did anything but in her leading roles with the Warriors' volleyball, basketball and softball teams, all of which reached the state playoffs.
After moving from St. Petersburg during the off-season, Atwood's huge efforts at the net, on defense and as a leader of the volleyball team propelled Seven Rivers to the final four and earned her third-team all-state honors.
But it was basketball where Atwood, who has committed to Central Florida Community College, took over.
In addition to leading the Warriors to the playoffs, Atwood also grabbed a handful of individual marks, breaking the Seven Rivers single-game scoring record with a 42-point outburst, surpassing 1,000 points and leading Citrus County with 18.9 points per game.
Skidmore, who has signed with Appalachian State, won 140 matches during his career, including three consecutive regional championships, while qualifying for state in all four seasons. Though openly despondent after suffering a second consecutive third-period loss in the state wrestling final, Skidmore can finally look back with satisfaction at his performance.
"Yeah, I can walk away happy," Skidmore said.
"I wasn't entirely happy with the way it ended, but I definitely tried my hardest. And that's all you can do."
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