|The questions and answers so far:
Question: On the All-County Baseball selections, one player made the first team and the second team, yet he was not in the top of any stats. How can this be?
John Cotey, staff writer: That player, Clint Saenz, was actually on second team before the advice of one of the county's coaches (and not his own) persuaded me to move him to first team. He was also the top vote getter for OF on the all-conference lists, meaning that the coaches thought he was the best outfielder in the North County, where, quite frankly, all the best baseball teams have played. Like a dolt, however, I forgot to delete him from the second team after moving him to first. As for his stats not being in there, they weren't amongst the ones that Largo sent in, but like I said, he came recommended by the coaches. We did not see a Largo game this year (as well as a lot of other teams), so often when we choose the teams we solicit advice from coaches who have seen these teams. No need to punish a kid for playing on a bad team, we say.
Question: Has the Pinellas County 2006 All-County Softball Team been announced? Why should we care about Hillsborough in Pinellas County? I saw nothing in the sports section on Saturday June 10.
Frank Pastor, Region Sports Editor: The Times' All-Pinellas softball team was published on June 13.
Question: Where were the All-County baseball teams published on June 11?
Frank Pastor, Region Sports Editor: The Times' All-Citrus/Hernando baseball team was published on June 4 in the Citrus and Hernando editions. The All-Pinellas team ran on June 11.
Question: I enjoyed reading about the student athletes on the All-Academic Teams in Pasco County. Was there any reason why Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School was omitted from this listing? They did compete this year on the varsity level.
Izzy Gould, staff writer: The list of all-academic teams in Pasco County is provided to us from the Sunshine Athletic Conference, which encompasses public schools. Bishop McLaughlin currently is not a member of the SAC thus those students were not included.
Question: I see a lot of talk of sports like football, baseball, track, but nothing in your paper about the upcoming swim season. How about an article or two about some the great swimmers that attend schools in Hillsborough?
Keith Niebuhr, staff writer: We have plenty of swimming stories planned. And, in fact, Chelsea Nauta was quoted in a story last week about steroid testing in high school sports.
Question: I have been watching for the All-County High School Baseball picks. Have they been published for the season that just ended?
Frank Pastor, Region Sports Editor: The All-Pinellas baseball team ran on June 11.
Question: Have you published your all-county baseball teams yet? If so, how can I access that article online? If not, when do you plan on publishing it?
Answer: All-County softball team ran on June 10, baseball on June 11.
Question: How do you go about looking up old newspaper articles on this web site?
Frank Pastor, Region Sports Editor: From www.tampabay.com, click on the St. Petersburg Times logo in the top left corner. Once you've arrived at the Times' main page, you will see a white search box on the right side. Type in a keyword, then press "Go." You will be presented with a list of stories that match your keyword, starting with the most recent. Scroll down until you find the story you seek. You can preview a story or view the full text by clicking on the icon to the left of the headline.
Question: Has the 2006 All-County Softball Team been announced?
Frank Pastor, Region Sports Editor: The Times' All-Hillsborough softball team was published on May 28.
Question: Has the Pinellas County All-County Tennis team been named?
Frank Pastor, Region sports editor: The Times' All-Pinellas County tennis teams ran in the May 26 (boys) and May 27 (girls) editions. The PCAC teams chosen by the coaches will be published sometime in the next week or two.
Question: I saw the question about lacrosse coverage. Not a varsity sport? Well that's funny. My son has been playing on a varsity team for the last 3 years and the other schools outside our district are getting plenty of coverage. I think you need to do some research. The only reason lacrosse is not listed at Plant is that it is not sanctioned or funded yet -- ridiculous that Tampa/St. Pete are so far behind others in the nation.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: If the sport is not sanctioned by the FHSAA, and therefore this is no statewide championship tournament under the banner of the FHSAA, anyone can run a state tournament and crown a state champion. It also means teams are not subject to the same rules and regulations of competition as sports sanctioned under the FHSAA banner. For instance, some club sports teams are made up of players from multiple schools who band together to form a team. We're not saying that's better or worse, merely that non-sanctioned sports are subject to far fewer regulations than sanctioned sports and don't necessarily represent the high school community in the same way.
Question: The flag football coach at our daughters school told us that the St. Pete Times would not publish the "All County' selections for the varsity flag football teams. Is this true? If so, why?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Our plans are to have an all-county team in Pinellas, the same as any other varsity sport.
Question: When will the St. Pete Times print this season's final softball stats and All-County teams?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: The season was ending the same day this question was submitted, so it will be probably a couple of more weeks before we get the all-county teams and final stats in.
Question: Why is it that in the Hernando Times sports sections all the football previews for spring and pictures are for Springstead, Hernando, and Nature Coast? Have you heard of the Central High School Bears? And the Hernando Times should be for Hernando County -- NOT for Citrus County.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: As far as spring football in Hernando County, we've had two pieces of coverage: A Sunday package that included 10 questions and a notebook on Friday. The Sunday package included questions on all five teams in Hernando County (including Hernando Christian), with Central getting one of the questions, the same as most schools. And in the notebook on Friday, there was an item about Central. So I'm not sure I agree that Central is being left out in some way.
As to the inclusion of Citrus schools in the Sunday package, historically these two counties have been tied together in many ways on the athletic fields, so occasionally, when we think there might be areas of common interest, we share information from one county to the other.
Question: Is there a St. Pete Times article about last Saturday's Florida State Rowing Association Championship regatta? Local teams won state championship races and will be going to nationals in New York - e.g. Plant High has three girls boats that won their categories for state championship. I see in the questions below that you don't cover club sports, but state championships rate at least a public interest story.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Sorry to say we didn't have any coverage of this event. For one thing, no one let us know that it was happening. Again, varsity sports are affiliated with the schools in an official way and are on schedules, so we know what's coming up. Club sports are done a completely different way, and the communication is haphazard at best. I'm not picking on any particular sport here, because they're all different. And I do have to go back to the fact that public interest is nearly all focused on varsity sports. That's not to say we wouldn't occasionally write about a non-varsity sport, such as our recent lacrosse package. If we knew a state championship was coming up in some other sport, we may or may not write about it, depending on our available resources. But if we don't know about it, that's a guarantee we won't. If someone with the association gets us some information, we'll take another look before the New York event.
Question: When will the athletic scholars page come out? Sorry I can't remember the exact name you all call it. It is so nice to see the athletes that are also good students!
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Our Scholar-Athletes package will come out in June.
Question: Do you guys ever make an end-of-the-year list of all those going to college on scholarships in every sport? It would be nice to see which athletes are getting rewarded for their hard work and where we would be able to follow their careers further.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: We do a pretty comprehensive list on national signing day in February, but given that the Times covers 80 or so high schools, multiple that by the 20 or so sports that each school might have, multiply that by the number of members of each of those teams, and well, you'll see that we simply don't have the resources to track every student who gets an athletic scholarship.
Question: Why isn't their any thing about the PCAC 2006 for track on here?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: I'm not sure what the reader means, because we had articles and a photo the day after the PCAC meet, and the article is archived on the web site.
Question: When does the All-Western Conference team come out for softball? I ask you as you are the best paper in the area.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: First off, I thank the reader for those kind words. As to the western conference team, those teams are chosen by the coaches, so we can't say when they'll come out. Once they get them to us, we'll get them into the paper. You can look for our own All-County softball team within a couple of weeks after the season ends.
Question: I know you have already published the Times' All County boys soccer teams, but I have not seen you publish the boys All-PCAC soccer teams. Did I miss it? I know that last year you published them the end of April.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: The Pinellas County Athletic Conference teams are voted on by the public school coaches. We run them once the coaches send them along to us.
Question: With regional softball quarterfinal games, I do not see any results or article about the St Pete Canterbury game vs. Sarasota Christian School??
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: There's an article on page 6 of the sports section as part of our softball roundup.
Question: Why does it seem in my opinion that the St. Pete Times is biased against Countryside High School. Countryside went undefeated in Pinellas County. They played Palm Harbor, lost the first game in Pinellas County, but all the Times talked about was how good Palm Harbor was. Now, on April 25, Countryside has beaten Durant in the regionals. Palm Harbor and East Lake have lost their games. When will you give Countryside some credit for their effort?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: It appears the reader is referring to our softball coverage, so I'll address that. The most common complaint I get about our Pinellas County softball coverage is that Palm Harbor and Countryside get too much coverage. So even if PHU gets slightly more coverage, there are 25 other schools that envy the coverage Countryside gets. And I would argue that as a two-time defending state champ, PHU probably has more interest throughout the county than any other one team. Finally, as the reader points out, Countryside won its regional while PHU lost, so Countryside, St. Petersburg Catholic and Canterbury have the softball coverage to themselves for as long as they last.
Question: What happened to the girls' softball player stats this year?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: You're right, we haven't done a good job of running softball stats in Pinellas this spring. We had some issues at our end, so it's our fault, not the coaches. We will indeed run final stats at some point, probably with our all-county team.
Question: As a fan of Plant High lacrosse, I would like to know why the St. Petersburg Times is not giving more ink to the sport. Based on attendance at recent games, it is clearly picking up in popularity. I don't even see scores posted.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Given the number of schools, varsity sports and athletes, we cannot extend our coverage to non-varsity sports, meaning club sports or junior varsity. We did have an extensive package on the growth of lacrosse on April 14, but as of now, no public schools in the area have it as a varsity sport.
Question: Where can I find the results of the different regional track meets that are going on. I see that baseball has box scores, but nothing for track. I can understand that the paper does not carry the information due to lack of space, but I don't know why the online system does not carry the information. Is it that high school track warrants no consideration?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Complete results, articles and meet results, for the Class A and Class 2A regional meets held on Thursday ran in our Friday edition. The Class 3A and 4A regionals have yet to be held.
Question: I think there has been an inbalance in the coverage of softball and baseball this season. Baseball's district preview covered an entire page -- the girls, a few paragraphs.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: I went back and looked at both Pinellas pages to see if my memory was faulty, but indeed, the baseball district preview was two-thirds of page, not a full page. The rest of the page was filled with tennis. And I checked the softball page, and it was a half-page, not "a few paragraphs." So indeed, the softball district preview was slightly smaller than the baseball. Given that, as I've said many times on this site, our coverage is based on reader interest. Football gets far more coverage than most other sports. Baseball and softball get more coverage than other spring sports, with baseball sometimes being slightly more, again, based on reader interest.
Question: Did I miss your coverage of the great Softball District Championship Game between Palm Harbor and East Lake last night?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: I'm afraid you must have, because it was the lead story on Page 9 of Friday's sports section.
Question: Are baseball stats online?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: Hopefully this will be the last season I have to say this, but because of the limitations of our software we don't post stats online. We're going through an upgrade that should solve this.
Question: Who has the fastest 100 meters time in the state? Ryan Colson of Bartow High School at 10.32?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: According to flrunners.com, Harry Adams of Dillard ran 10.33 on April 1, the fastest time they list this year.
Question: Why haven't we seen anything in the paper about Lecanto's weightlifting and the kid going to state who hasn't lost a meet yet?
Roy LeBlanc: Your timing is right on, because we have an article in today's paper about Lecanto's Stan Kruslicky. And we'll of course be at the state meet, so look for live coverage.
Question: Was there an article on the PCAC track and field meet that I cannot find on the website? I have been on the lookout for results since the meet last Thursday.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: We ran an article, a photo and the meet results the day after the meet. The article is available on our web site. You can log onto Tampabay.com, click on the St. Petersburg Times, and use the search functions to find the article.
Question: Was there an article on the PCAC track and field meet that I cannot find on the website? I have been on the lookout for results since the meet last Thursday.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: We ran an article, a photo and the meet results the day after the meet. The article is available on our web site. You can log onto Tampabay.com, click on the St. Petersburg Times, and use the search functions to find the article.
Question: My family and I are relocating to Pinellas County from Colorado. I have a 16-year-old daughter who will be a junior next year. She's 6'1" tall and lettered in volleyball as a sophomore. I am looking for a house in the northern part of the county and was wondering about how the schools performed in volleyball this past season. Specifically, I'm interested in East Lake High School, Palm Harbor University High School, Countryside High School, and Dunedin High School. Can you tell me where I can find this information?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: While we can't give personal replies, all of our volleyball coverage is on our web site. So by going back to volleyball season and calling up articles anyone should be able to get a pretty good picture of how the various teams did.
Question: Who and where are the county teams playing for spring football games? The Times does not do a good job with spring football, I like to watch the games but usually don't know about the spring games until the day of, or the day after?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: It's hard to give much coverage to spring football when it falls at a time that baseball and softball are in the peak of their playoff runs. It's difficult to justify devoting lots of resources to practice games when other sports are at their most critical time. Having said that, the reader has a point that we could do a better job of letting folks know the spring football schedule, so we'll look to improve in that area as we head toward spring practice.
Question: I am an avid reader of your columns on a daily basis and for the most part I have seen a fair and equal coverage across all schools in the are in most sports. What concerns me is that it appears that you have changed your coverage this baseball season. To my point you have had little to no coverage of The Canterbury School of Florida, coached by Bob Hamilton and assisted by John Lancaster and Dave Smith. Although this team is in the Class A Division (which really only means that the school has a lower enrollment), they have 17 wins (including a win against a school visiting from Kentucky) with only 1 loss.
John C. Cotey: We're going to try to get around to Canterbury and I can almost guarantee you we will at least once before the season ends. While it may seem that we only focus on the bigger schools, the fact is, well, we do. A lot of that has to do with readership -- bigger school equals more alum/parents/friends equals more interest from readership. But we never consider the size of the school as a reason to do a story. We just try and cover the best teams, the best stories, the hottest trends, regardless of class. Years ago, for example, that was Northside Christian (and I got letters from the bigger schools complaining about covering the smaller schools too much, believe it or not) and these things run in cycles. While we haven't gotten out to cover the team just yet, I make sure to pump the Crusaders up to the rest of the state writers that vote in the poll (hence, Canterbury is ranked in the state's top 10) so I do have my eye on them. Truth is, Canterbury is having a great season, but it's schedule and district is brutally weak and the verdict is still out. But we'll get out there. Soon, very soon.
Question: How do I locate the win loss record for the last few years for high school softball teams in the area? How do I locate the final standings of the John Sinclair softball tournament held in Brandon?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: With 80 high schools in our coverage area, we do not keep won-loss records on each school's many teams.
Question: When will the boys All-State soccer team be posted?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: The Florida Sports Writers Association, which chooses All-State teams, decided not to choose soccer teams this year.
Question: Why don't you do a story on high school flag football soon instead of waiting for the season to be over? You follow up football and baseball throughout the whole season giving your opinions, etc.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: We will have some limited coverage of flag football before playoff time. But as always, we spend our resources based on the interests of our readers. And they've made it very clear that in the spring, baseball and softball are the things they're most interested, far and away. So that's where we devote the lion's share of our resources. But if you've got a tip for a story about flag football, by all means let us know.
Question: There was a question earlier in the year asking if there is an academic all-county team and if so what is the criteria and how do you submit a candidate? Roy LeBlanc confirmed that there was one at the end of the school year for all sports but was not clear on how to submit a candidate. Please describe this process.
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor/Region: We send forms to each high school athletic director near the end of the year. The schools do the nominating.
Question: When will the boys all-county soccer teams be posted?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor/Region: You can look for our all-county teams to begin appearing shortly after the winter playoffs are over.
Question: Did I miss the Pinellas preseason softball preview?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor: The Pinellas softball preview ran Feb. 6. And with the winter playoffs winding down, you can expect to see more softball and other spring sports on a daily basis.
Question: This is regarding John C. Cotey's baseball review for 6A district 7. I am very surprised that he felt Countryside's disappointing 7-19 season was worth mentioning. But he couldn't come up with anything good or bad to say about Alonso. I certainly hope this was an oversight on his part instead of giving preferential treatment to the other side of the bay.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: While the reader, who lives in Tampa, apparently saw our Pinellas County baseball preview, he or she may not have seen the Hillsborough preview, which ran Feb. 14. As most of our readers know, we tailor such articles for each area, so naturally, the version that ran in Pinellas would, in fact, focus on Pinellas schools. Conversely, the one that ran in Tampa would focus on schools on that side of the bay.
Question: Has there been an All County Girls Soccer team yet? And if there isn't when?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: The season just recently ended, so no, we haven't put any of our all-county teams together yet. Once we get most of the winter playoffs behind us, we'll turn our attention to postseason honors.
Question: When will this year's high school baseball season preview be in the paper?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor/Region: The questioner is from Pinellas County, so I'll presume that's the preview he's interested in. As most of our readers know, we cover five counties, so the baseball previews might run on five different days. In Pinellas, the preview is scheduled to run Monday or Tuesday (Feb. 13-14).
Question: I try to keep an eye on my son's sports activities. However I have a difficult time finding information on his wrestling. How can I locate his stats on the Gulf High wrestling team?
Roy LeBlanc: We don't run wrestling statistics. The articles on the meets and tournaments we cover appear on our web site as well as in print. For statistics, your son's coach might be your best bet.
Question: Where can I find prep line scores online? I'm especially interested in the softball line scores.
Roy LeBlanc: I guess it's been a couple of weeks since we've answered this question, so here we go again. We currently don't list statistics or box scores on our web site. We are in the process of upgrading our software, which should allow us to do that in the future. Unfortunately, that upgrade won't be fully in place until the fall.
Question: Can you write an article or explain to me why there is no JV baseball in Pinellas County. The Booster clubs are organizing a "prospect" league for the younger players but the Varsity coaches are to have absolutely nothing to do with it. How can the teams in Pinellas County be competitive with others in the state if they don't have JV baseball. Don't tell me it is about funding because the only thing the schools really pay for is bus rides to away games, therefore they could do the same as they do for other sports and have both Varsity & JV play games at the same time. There are plenty of fields in this area to do so.
Answer: There's no JV baseball because to comply with Title IX, the county would also have to add JV softball. There's no money for either, they say. I agree, not having JV baseball certainly hurts the county's players, but not enough to warrant the price of adding two new sports.
Question: I am a student at Jesuit High School in Tampa. Why doesn't the St. Pete Times give more news on Tampa sports, such as Jesuit going for another Regional Final Championship in soccer?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: I think the issue here is that the questioner goes to school in Tampa but lives in Clearwater. In our Hillsborough editions we had articles with headlines after Jesuit's district championship game and after the region quarterfinal game. And we certainly plan to be at the region semifinal. Not to mention a headlined article after the Tigers' district wrestling championship.
We put out a number of editions of the paper, trying to serve our local readers best. Naturally, that means that in the Pinellas edition, we give coverage to Pinellas teams and in the Hillsborough edition, coverage to Hillsborough teams. When a team gets close to the state championship level and we think there's interest, we'll spill a portion of that coverage into other editions.
Question: When will coverage (pre-season rankings, etc.) begin for area softball programs?
Roy LeBlanc: You can look for coverage of softball to begin around Feb. 6, when the regular season starts, but it really won't kick into high gear until we get the other side of the winter sports playoffs. It's the same for the winter sports, which at the beginning of their seasons have to take a back seat to the fall playoffs.
Question: Is there a way to purchase photos that are published in your paper?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: Copies of photos that have run in the Times are available for purchase by calling our photo reprint department at (800) 333-7505 ext. 8431 or (727) 893-8431.
Question: I would like to know if there is an academic all-county team and if so what is the criteria and how do you submit a candidate?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: The Times does a scholar-athlete package at the end of the school year, which encompasses athletes from all sports.
Question: Why doesn't the St. Pete Times put the scores and stats from the local high school games on the web site like the Tampa Tribune does?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: We've answered this question before, but it has been a while, so here it is again: We're in the process of improving our technology and the way we produce the newspaper. One of the many benefits of this is that it will allow us to put more information, including stats and box scores, on our web site. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen until next school year.
Question: I played football for JV this past season and I was wondering: Does anybody take JV stats or even give recognition to JV players in the newspaper? If not, why? If yes, where can I find stats at?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: The short answer is no. The reason is that like every other enterprise, the Times has limited resources (reporters, time, newspaper space). So we devote those resources to those areas where people have the most interest. In the case of local sports, clearly far and away the major interest is in varsity sports. We simply don't have the resources to cover junior varsity sports.
Question: Why do publications like yours try to be so politically correct. Your so-called All Suncoast Teams have over the past number of years favored certain schools and areas. This is a fact! I know of number of kids that have gotten Division 1 scholarships in many different sports that have been left off your "Super Duper" Suncoast teams while you have chosen (non) athletes that have gone on to play nowhere in their place! How do you explain that? I know no one is perfect but Duh!?!?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: I'm not sure which schools are "politically correct" and which schools aren't, so I'd have a hard time figuring out how we chose our athletes based on the politically correct schools. Clearly certain schools have produced more of those players over the years, generally the more successful programs. As for your point that some of the All-Suncoast players haven't done much in college, while players not on the team have gone on to play Division 1, there's actually a quite simple answer. The All-Suncoast team is based on what you did that year during the high school season, not on your college potential. There are many players in all sports who have great high school seasons but don't go on to make an impact in college, for a variety of reasons.
Question: Did the St. Pete Times have a Hillsborough All-County swim team this year? I thought I saw one last year. We live in Pinellas, but swim in Tampa (Tampa Prep). Any help would be appreciated.
Answer: Our Hillsborough All-County girls swim team ran Dec. 16, the boys team Dec. 20. They ran in our Hillsborough County editions, which is why you wouldn't have seen them in your Pinellas edition. Should you be looking to get copies of those editions, call our back issues department at (727) 895-1181.
Question: Is there a web site or place to find the High School District Soccer Tournament schedule? I know it is the week of Jan. 23.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: There is no central site for district schedules. However, the Times will print complete schedules for the area districts prior to the beginning of the tournaments.
Question: Will the Times publish the stats leaders (boys basketball) this season? Sean McAlpin at Northside Christian is on pace to have 60-70 three point baskets this season. Is there a three-point shooting contest at the end of season All-Star Game? If not would be fun to have.
John Cotey: Boys basketball stats will run the first week back from Christmas break. Typically, there is a dunk contest and a three-point shootout at the county All-Star game.
Question: I attend Clearwater High and I look at the paper after every game. The team does a great job defeating other schools but I think you don't focus on how the team gets its energy. Patrick Baker gets the team pretty pumped up with his intense defense and ambition. I also think that the people who help Nickerson get his high scoring points should be talked about. I mean he doesn't do it by himself. I just wanted to give you something to think about and say Clearwater is going all the way.
John Cotey: We'll have more stories on Clearwater this year, don't worry about that. The Tornadoes are looking like one of the season's bright stories, going from a state finalist that lost all its starters to a completely new team poised by some pretty good things.
Question: I know Northeast's basketball program has been down for a while but we have squad now. Cotey, I'm asking for some props in the paper. Last year our J.V. was 12-7 and we now have some players ready to play. Why don't we get some love?
John Cotey: Love? Let me try to find some in the next few weeks. It's hard to spread it around when you have Lakewood, Bogie, Gibbs, St. Pete, Clearwater, Largo, and St. Petersburg Catholic all sniffing around the state poll. Northeast looks improved, but get to .500 first or knock off one of the big boys and we'll see what we can do.
Question: I played football for River Ridge this year and I was wondering on where their coach will be next year. Are there any frontrunners? Everyone from the football team is dying to know.
From Pasco sports editor Frank Pastor: River Ridge narrowed a list of more than 40 applicants to about 15 that have been interviewed, as reported in a Times story on Wednesday. Among those who have been interviewed are Bishop McLaughlin coach Jim Ceccarelli, Land O'Lakes assistants Tom Carter and Tim Stevens, Zephyrhills assistant Jeremy Shobe and former Gulf assistant Mike Smith. The school also is trying to reach Newsome wrestling coach and former Wesley Chapel football assistant Chad Parker. Out-of-state candidates from Texas, Ohio and Georgia have been contacted over the phone. Athletic director Jack Homko said he expects to begin a second round of interviews sometime after school resumes next week.
Question: Just wondering if the Times will continue their coverage of prep basketball by printing SEPARATE individual stats listings for private and public schools this season. It would give a truer picture of kids' performances against similar competition. The private schools around this county don't have to contend with the likes of Clearwater, Largo and Palm Harbor, for instance, and therefore the individual stats are easier to come by. The public schools are tested throughout their districts in this area, whereas a decent private school isn't really tested until they get out of this county. I just think it would be more fair that when you do print individual stats, separate them by private/public.
John Cotey: We have thought about doing stats separately, but I doubt we will. Yes, the level of competition is different on the public and private school levels, but are you telling me if Aaron Holmes averages 30 and some guy at a public school averages 18, they should be co-scoring leaders? I hear this argument all the time, but you show me any public school schedule and I'll find 10 games on it that some private schools could win as well. I think football coaches might have a bigger beef for separate stats.
Question: We always get Hillsborough County's information about its top football players. Who were the top football players in Pasco County? Passing, rushing, receiving, etc. And can we get them and their stats in a particular order now that the season is over?
From Pasco sports editor Frank Pastor: Individual football statistics, including rushing, passing, receiving, scoring and defensive (tackles, sacks, interceptions) leaders from Pasco County were published as part of our gameday preview package every Friday throughout the season in the Pasco Times. The final county leaders were Ridgewood's Byronell Arline (rushing), Land O'Lakes' Develin Robinson (receiving), Land O'Lakes' Joe Weatherford (passing), Hudson's Vince Ferlita (scoring), Hudson's Brian Zullo (tackles), Ferlita, Land O'Lakes' Lannie Graham and Zephyrhills' Bryan Thomas (tied in interceptions) and Pasco's McClain Bryant (sacks).
Question: What is the difference between All-Sunshine, All-Suncoast, All-County Teams? I am particularly interested in the Volleyball aspect of it. I noticed that in Pasco, their All-Sunshine teams were announced and wanted to know if that is the same as our All-County Teams here.
From Pasco sports editor Frank Pastor: The All-Sunshine Athletic Conference teams are comprised of players from the nine public schools in Pasco County that make up the SAC and chosen by conference coaches. The All-County and All-Suncoast teams are determined by members of the St. Petersburg Times' prep sports staff. The All-County teams are precisely that: a collection of the best players from public and/or private schools in a particular county (Citrus and Hernando are combined because there are fewer schools), in our opinion. Our All-Pinellas, All-Hillsborough, All-Pasco and All-Citrus/Hernando teams serve as a foundation for the All-Suncoast team, which recognizes the top players from the five-county area (a best of the best, if you will) as we see it.
Question: I saw the rankings for girls basketball and noticed something no respect for Gulf. They are undefeated in season play (2 preseason losses against great teams on the road), yet the Buccaneers have not one vote. Why?
Times writer Izzy Gould: No voter nominated Gulf as a top-10 team. Upon receipt of your note, I volunteered to vote for the Times, and sent a nomination to the voters. We'll see what happens.
Question: I'm trying to find info on prep basketball players David Potter (Bradenton/IMG) and AJ Tyler (Palm Harbor), two Clemson signees. I'd like to know where I can get information online to follow their seasons.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: The best way to follow A.J. Tyler's career online is right here at www.sptimes.com. There's no better place to find coverage of him and his school. As far as Potter, I'd have to refer you to the Bradenton Herald, as that is outside our coverage area.
Question: I noticed in today's sports section (North Pinellas) that the PCAC listed their volleyball players of the year. Has the St. Petersburg Times selected their players (1st team, 2nd team, honorable mention)? If not when, if so can you send me a link?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: We haven't chosen our team yet, but you can look for it within the next two weeks.
Question: Why does the Times disrespect the Gibbs High basketball team? This year all we every read about is Pinellas Park and how young and how good they are defensively. We have news for you. Gibbs has three of the top 10th graders in the state (Larry Murphy Jr., Tracy Parks and John Burke) Murphy was the sixth man on last year's team. Burke has started varsity since the 8th grade, and Parks is one of the best shooter in the county. This last summer Murphy and Burke made the all-star team at the Dodge Shootout Camp & both qualified for the USSSA State Showcase Camp and Burke made the all-star team at the Battle for Rankins camp. Please tell me why you have disrespected our boys for so long?
John Cotey: The season is what, two games old? And we've disrespected the Gibbs basketball team? We picked them third in their highly competitive district, and ... well, like I said, the season just started. We covered them a handful of times last year (more than we covered games featuring Osceola, Pinellas Park, Northeast, East Lake and others). We cover their games just about every time they play Lakewood, Bogie and St. Pete. We did a story on the team two years ago during the Hooters tournament. Of all the teams that haven't won a playoff game since 1994, of which Gibbs is one, the Gladiators have gotten the best coverage. But Lakewood, Bogie, Clearwater, Largo and St. Pete and St. Pete Catholic get the lion's share of the stories because they have gone deep in the playoffs many times since that last Gibbs playoff win. We are well aware of the fine job Larry Murphy does over at Gibbs, the talent his son and teammates like Williams and Bostic have, the potential of Tracy Parks ... we're watching, trust us. They'll get theirs. Just give us more than two games to do so. Whattya say?
Question: There should be a link on sptimes.com for fans to see scores of all area prep sports events. The articles are great, but a page with scores and stats would be nice.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: We're in the process of changing over to a new computer system that will allow us to put all sorts of scores and statistics on our web site. That change, however, likely won't happen until next fall.
Question: Can you tell me how the Times goes about picking the "Player of the Year" award. Does the high school coach have anything to do with it? Do statistics play a large part or academic and scholastic achievement - popularity? What criteria do you use to establish this accomplishment, especially if there are several prospects that appear to others to also be in contention for the award?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: The answer to this is similar to the answer below on All-County teams. Our staff writers choose the player of the year based on their own observations, with input from coaches, from long-time freelancers who cover a lot of games for us, and certainly using statistics as well. The All-County teams and players of the year are really on-the-field honors, so academic and scholastic achievement really don't come into play.
Question: Do all high school sports have some kind of All-Star team? Who picks these players or is there a tryout? Are they always seniors?
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor/Region: There's no one answer to your question. Different sports handle things different ways. And it also depends on whether you're talking about the Times' All-County and All-Suncoast teams or teams picked by the coaches. And some sports have postseason all-star games, usually, but not always, limited to seniors. But those are really college showcases and aren't necessarily reflective of what an all-star team would look like.
Given all that, I can speak with authority about the teams we choose. We choose all-county teams in each sport in each season. (In the case of Citrus and Hernando counties, we combine those to choose one team to make it a little more representative.) The teams are chosen by our staff writers using their own observations, observations from some of our veteran freelancers, input from coaches and statistics. It's by no means a perfect science. For the most popular sports in each season (football/volleyball; boys and girls basketball; baseball/softball) we do All-Suncoast teams, drawing from all five of the counties in our coverage area (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus).
Question: I guess I must have missed the girls' basketball preview section. I hope there was one and I just didn't see it, because I can't believe you would do a boys' preview and forget the girls. I haven't even been contacted by the Times and I coach at Armwood. If it helps, the teams to beat in Hillsborough County are Armwood and Freedom. Plant and Riverview are just a notch behind. Don't forget the girls!
Roy LeBlanc, Assistant Sports Editor/Region: Maybe you just hadn't gotten to your sports section yet, but the Hillsborough girls basketball preview ran the very same day we got your question. Obviously it's tough to devote the same kind of effort to winter previews that we can to fall, in particular football. In one case we've got most of the summer to work on it. In the case of the winter sports, frankly, most of our attention is devoted to playoff football, so we're scrambling to do winter previews on the side. It's another side affect of the FHSAA's overlapping seasons. You'll definitely hear from us in the coming weeks.
Question: What's up with so many quarterbacks getting injured in the last game of the season/first playoff game - Tarpon, Bogie, Countryside, Land O' Lakes (I think there was another) - all ended their seasons with serious injuries to their quarterbacks. What gives?
John Cotey: Well, Bogie's QB was hurt but only after the team was eliminated from the playoffs, but it's a tough position. Clearly the loss of L.D. Crow was devastating to Countryside, as was the loss of Weatherford to Land O' Lakes. It was a shame, really, because there are few, if any, high schools that go two-deep at QB without some sort of drop off. And to happen in a playoff game or the week before means little time for No. 2 to get up to speed. Definitely something we'll keep an eye on.
Question: I know the time of year for the "All-County" selections is right around the corner and I understand the use of stats to determine who in and out at skill positions but how are the lineman selections made?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: All-County and All-Suncoast selections are made by our staff writers based on a combination of their own observations, input from coaches, and statistics.
Question: In Pinellas County, is an official in the booth upstairs at all football games and what is his position (time keeper or extra judge)? Can he overrule missed calls?
John Cotey: The official in the booth -- at all JV and varsity football games -- acts as the clock operator. He or she can't overrule calls on the field.
Question: When do you think Northside Christian Coach Bob Dare will receive his 100th win? This year? Or next year?
John Cotey: Next year. I don't see them beating Shorecrest or Keswick. If Dare does get No. 100 this year, it will come against the Chargers, though, and wouldn't that make it extra sweet?
Question: How good do you think Northside will be in the following years in football with 22 sophomores on their roster this year?
John Cotey: That's hard to say. The Mustangs will be more experienced, but just because you have 22 sophomores doesn't mean you'll have 22 good juniors and 22 great seniors in two years. But it certainly bodes well for coach Bob Dare.
Question: I understand coaches send team and players stats to the press after every game. Is there any way to find them on the Internet? Looking for Tampa Catholic High stats.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: Though we encourage coaches to call in box scores in every sport after each event, and many do, many don't. And calling in box scores is different than compiling statistics, which we work hard to do in the most popular sports. At this time we're in the process of installing a new computer system that should allow us to post box scores and statistics on our web site.
Question: St. Pete Catholic offensive players such as Jock Sanders, David Girardi, Jermaine McKenzie and Darius Bellamy are talked about. What about the defensive players? Why are stats for C.J. Lee, John Briggs, Sean Nicholson and the other defensive players never mentioned? Defensive players in general work just as hard at winning the games as the offensive players without recognition.
John C. Cotey: If the coaches sent in defensive stats, we'd run them. We have tried in the past, but to no avail. We'll try again and maybe get them in at the end of the season.
Question: I try to follow high school football and basketball very closely. We every once in a while see some leaders. For example in receiving, passing, running, shooting, etc. However, we never see total numbers for teams to compare against others or full team stats with all players on them. Is there any place this information is available? Either online or a place to go and even purchase? We get very little coverage compared to other area attractions. There are probably over 50 teams in the bay area and for football alone. If they average 400 fans a game, that would be about 20,000 fans that are interested in the preps. This is approximately 3 times the amount of people visiting the Devil Rays per game. And how about the price of a hot dog?
From Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor: Reporters in the five counties we cover compile statistics that are provided to us by coaches. There's no way we'd have the time or the space to compile or run complete statistics for each of the approximately 80 schools we cover. A few of the schools do have well-done web sites with complete statistics, but at this point they are still few and far between.
As to your other point. Your math is a little off on the number of games on a given Friday night, but even if we accept your estimate of 20,000 total, versus say a Devils Rays crowd of 10,000, there is a critical difference. All 10,000 of those readers are interested in one game. The group of 20,000 is not really a group of 20,000. It is, as you say, many groups of 400 people, with each of those groups really interested only in one game. If you're interested in the St. Petersburg Catholic-Clearwater Central Catholic game and we increase our prep coverage and give you more information on the Hillsborough-Plant game, or even say the Lakewood-Boca Ciega game, I venture to say that will make you not one bit happier. On a football Saturday we devote a full page and a half to football. And we have three different editions (North Suncoast, Hillsborough and Pinellas), so we really devote four and a half pages to football. That's a lot of coverage by any standard.
Question: Who keeps track of team and players stats? Are they available to the public?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: Statistics are given to us by coaches. Different reporters in each county are responsible for assembling the statistics from coaches. There are no statistics available to the public beyond what runs in the newspaper.
Question: Who are the top 10 high school football receivers in Pasco County?
Pasco County sports editor Frank Pastor: I haven't seen every team yet, but based on my observations and conversations with coaches, the area's top receivers, including tight ends, (in no particular order) are: Land O'Lakes' Develin Robinson and Caz Piurowski, Pasco's Darrell Davis, Zephyrhills' Bryan Thomas, Mitchell's D.J. Crosby, Hudson's Royce Simonds and Eric Schwartz, Gulf's Shawn Williamson and A.J. Lowther, and River Ridge's Phil Petrini.
Question: Christine Tan from Palm Harbor U and Kelsey Salava from Clearwater High are two volleyball standouts in the High School scene and both have college volleyball scholarships waiting for them. How come more is not written about them and their accomplishments?
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: Christine and Kelsey were both on our first-team All-Suncoast team last year, which covers all five of the counties we cover. I did a quick check, and each has had her name in the paper over 20 times in the last couple of years. Given that there are close to 30 volleyball teams in the county, not to mention other sports, it's hard for me to agree that they've been ignored. That's not to say there isn't more to write about them, and there's a good chance that will happen as we move toward the playoffs.
Let me make a couple of larger points here.
As far as our volleyball coverage goes, most of the complaints are that we cover a few teams (Clearwater, East Lake, PHU) too much and don't cover other teams enough. Of course, those teams would not agree. We try to spread our coverage around early in the year, and naturally as the playoffs approach and the postseason begins, we focus in on the more successful teams.
As to football dominating the coverage, you're right. That's a reflection of the interests of our readers. Our mission is not to generate interest in a particular sport or team, or help a particular athlete or group of athletes get a scholarship. Our mission is to reflect the interest of our readers. And by every measure possible, they've told us that football is what they're most interested in. Certainly we give coverage to other sports, and volleyball gets more coverage than any fall sport except for football. But unless the interests of the majority of our readers shifts dramatically, football will get the most coverage for the foreseeable future.
Question: So the Hudson Cobras are 3-0 and just came off an impressive win over Springsted, 43-6. I know its early in season but do you think the Cobras are for real??
From Pasco sports editor Frank Pastor: No question, the Cobras are for real. They looked unbeatable in their first three games and have emerged as the early-season favorite for the Sunshine Athletic Conference title. But they have to clear a few more obstacles first, none bigger than Friday's game against Land O'Lakes, which promises to be the game of the year.
Question: I follow high school golf pretty closely and find it hard to track the score of the Pinellas County teams since you're directing only Hillsborough scores to us. Where can I find the Pinellas scores on this website? Do you publish the Pinellas team scores in the Tampa version of your paper? If not, why? I have the Tribune for the Hillsborough scores. I buy the Times for when I want to find out something in Pinellas County.
Roy LeBlanc, assistant sports editor/region: We don't publish what we call agate (box scores and the like) on our web site. As far as our different editions, we cover five counties. And we try to zone our coverage to best reflect the interests of readers in that area. Though you may want more Pinellas news, I suspect that would make you an exception among our Tampa readers, who for the most part wouldn't take kindly to squeezing out Hillsborough County news to make room for Pinellas results (or Pasco, or Citrus or Hernando for that matter). We certainly start to blur those county lines when it's deep in the playoffs or at state events, when the level of interest rises somewhat across county lines, but for the most part, we're firmly convinced that Pinellas readers want Pinellas news, Hillsborough readers want Hillsborough news, and so on. There are exceptions of course.