Leesburg, Fla. – All of the equipment, uniforms and practice schedules are packed away for the summer, but 2017-18 was an amazing year overall for the Lake-Sumter State College Athletics Department.
At the end of every school year, the LSSC Athletics Dept. hosts an awards banquet for their athletes. Among the awards given out were Male and Female Athlete of the Year, the Tyler Reichwein Service support and significant contributions Award and the Professor of the Year Award.
Professor of the Year
Gary Rogers – Assistant Professor of Theatre & Arts
Mr. Rogers was selected by the student athletes themselves. Several students made comments about Professor Rogers' commitment to their success not only as a student, but as an individual.
Male Student-Athlete of the Year
Tanner Clark – Sophomore, Baseball
After playing in just 27 games as a freshman and hitting .179, Tanner Clark had a breakout sophomore campaign. The local product from Umatilla High School appeared in 46 games, carrying an on-base percentage of .473 while hitting over .330 in the regular season. Clark's 33 RBI's were second best on the team and a big factor in the Lakehawks making the post season. After earning Second Team All Mid-Florida Conference accolades, Clark will head to the University of North Florida to continue his playing career in the fall.
Co-Female Student-Athletes of the Year
For the first time in Lake-Sumter athletics 19 years of existence, there was a tie in the voting. Both athletes boast impressive on and off field resumes resulting in co-award winners.
Renata Gomes Martins – Sophomore, Volleyball
Being a student-athlete is never easy, but doing it 3,000 miles away from home is extremely difficult. Brazil native, Renata Gomes Martins put an exclamation point on her two year career as a Lakehawk when she was named the Roberta Stokes Scholar-Athlete of the Year award recipient. Gomes Martins became the first female athlete is school history to win a scholar-athlete award. The setter has never been below a 4.0 GPA in four semesters at Lake-Sumter and was a two-time Region 8 Setter of the Week selection.
Rachel Phelps – Sophomore, Softball
In April, Rachel Phelps became the second female athlete at Lake-Sumter to take home a scholar-athlete award after she was named the Jean Williams Award recipient for softball. Phelps carried a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her two years at Lake-Sumter. She also spent a substantial amount of time volunteering through her church and with the LSSC athletic department. Phelps was a two-time All-Conference selection.
Tyler Reichwein Service Award
Lauren Harris – Student Trainer
The Tyler Reichwein service, support and significant contributions award is given to a student that has gone above and beyond for Lake-Sumter State College. This year's recipient started in the fall of 2016 as a student-trainer. In the spring of 2017, Harris was asked to join the softball team and still continued to help with the Sports Medicine department. Returning to her role as student trainer in the fall of 2017, Harris was commuting 30 minutes from home and still traveling with the volleyball team on away games. She did all of this while being married and excelling with a full academic schedule. In the 2018 spring semester, Harris proudly announced her and her husband were expecting their first child. Still, she continued to work as a student trainer, helping whenever and wherever she could.
The sport of volleyball will be making its move to NJCAA Division II beginning in the fall of 2018. That being said, the Lakehawks sure left their mark in their final season at the Division I level.
After hurricane Irma put the volleyball season on hold, LSSC jumped right back in knocking off nationally ranked Santa Fe College in five hard fought sets. The victory opened some eyes around Region 8 with the Lakehawks receiving votes as one of the top teams in the state of Florida. Two LSSC standouts also received accolades with Sierra Mooney and Taysha Gonzalez being selected as Region 8 Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectfully.
Down the stretch, Lake-Sumter won 3 out of their final 4 games, including possibly the biggest upset in program history. The night of Oct. 17 opened up with a different feeling as six sophomores took to the court for the final time in the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center. Tied at two sets apiece, the fifth and final set was one for the ages. Tied at 11-11 and then again at 13-13, CF committed a hitting error giving the Lakehawks the 14-13 lead and the ball for match point. The Patriots dug out the serve and sent the ball back over to LSSC. Ervin went for the kill, which was again dug out leading to an attack by CF. Jasmine Kimpel and Isabelle Zatoni de Oliveira went up for the block sending the ball back to the visiting side and giving their team the win.
The upset over the No. 17 team in the nation resulted in a Gatorade bath for Head Coach, Amanda Phelps. "This was that defining moment that lets you know we are doing things right and moving in the right direction," said Phelps. "My goal has been to be competitive and we have been, but this solidifies the hard work and long hours these student-athletes have been putting in."
During graduation, Gomes Martins was selected as the 2018 Lake-Sumter State College President's Award winner. She becomes just the fifth athlete to ever receive the honor. Volleyball had the highest GPA of any athletic team this year with a 3.31.The team had nine members earn a 3.0 or higher. Rachel Clark and Gomes Martins both finished with perfect 4.0 GPA's.
The softball program was able to post its first winning season since 1999. During the first weekend of play, the Lakehawks took down No. 18 Georgia Military on a walk off double by Taylor Dotson. Carrying the winning attitude throughout the season, they entered conference play with a 21-15 record.
On April 9, LSSC was trailing 2-0 in game two of a double header in the third inning. They got something going with no one out and the bases loaded. Brooke Ferguson hit a two run double to centerfield. Nini Underwood put down a successful squeeze bunt on the next pitch to plate Rachel Phelps, before heading to second base, allowing Ferguson to score on the throw. The Lakehawks would go onto win, 4-3 to secure their 30th victory of the season. A single season record for the program.
On the final day of the season, it was still a four team race for the final two spots in the conference tournament. A walk-off single by Underwood in game one, followed by a 5-3 victory in game two punched Lake-Sumter's ticket to the postseason. The team finished tied for third in the Mid-Florida Conference, the best finish for the program since the conference went to seven teams.
Altogether, the team broke 16 records in 2018, including Head Coach, Jay Miller becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history in his third season. The Lakehawks received enough votes during the season to earn top 10 status in Region 8. Jasmine McQuaig, along with Phelps, received All-Conference honors, while McQuaig became the first pitcher in program history to earn Region 8 Pitcher of the Week accolades. The team boasted a cumulative GPA of 3.0 with 10 players earning a 3.0 or higher. Phelps finished her career with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
A young group, even at the junior college level, the Lakehawk baseball team seemed like a squad built for the dramatics starting way back in week one. Opening day of the season consisted of a 14 inning affair against No. 12 Polk State resulting in a 7-6 loss. In fact, LSSC dropped 12 games this season by 2 or less runs. Through the struggles they matured. The team came together at the perfect time in the final weeks of the season winning 5 of their final 6 contests.
To get into the postseason, LSSC had to go through the No. 1 team in the country. A 0-0 ball game through the first four innings, the road warrior Lakehawks jumped on the board first to start the top of the fifth. Brody Rubenstein scored on a throwing error and was followed by Angel Padilla who crossed home plate on a base hit by Maurice James to go up, 2-0. It was the Lake-Sumter bullpen that stepped up when the team needed them most that sealed the deal. Nick Labrada got the start and was flawless on the bump going 5 1/3 innings giving up just three hits and one run. Quinn Echelson came in for two innings of strong relief allowing one unearned run in the eighth. Xavier Rodriguez was able to close the door giving up one run on one hit while collecting the final four outs of the ball game, for the 4-3 victory.
It marked the first time since 2011 that the Lakehawks would be playoff bound. Lake-Sumter took on St. Johns River in a one game, winner take all, contest. The bats broke out for 13 runs on 13 hits for LSSC who upset the No. 3 seeded Vikings in a mercy rule shortened ball game.
Kyle Wiseman, Angel Padilla, Robbie Scott and Clark were all tabbed All Mid-Florida Conference for their on-field play this season. Baseball had 15 players earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher this year with Clark and Brody Rubenstein earning their way onto the President's List.
A total of 34 student-athletes made a 3.0 GPA or higher. Six student-athletes earned President's List honors with a 3.8 or higher GPA. Gomes Martin and Phelps both earned NJCAA All-Academic status for the second time in their careers.
2018 Spring Honor Roll
Rachel Phelps Softball 4.0 President's List
Rachel Clark Volleyball 4.0 President's List
Renata Gomes Martins Volleyball 4.0 President's List
Tanner Clark Baseball 3.90 President's List
Kaitlyn Van Buren Softball 3.85 President's List
Brody Rubenstein Baseball 3.83 President's List
Erin Huffman Softball 3.80 Dean's List
Daniel Pierce Baseball 3.68 Dean's List
Danielle Lodor Volleyball 3.66 Dean's List
Jasmine Kimpel Volleyball 3.65 Dean's List
Aleyese Geier Softball 3.64 Dean's List
Nia Ervin Volleyball 3.51 Athletic Director's List
Anthony Byrd Baseball 3.50 Athletic Director's List
Leslie Walden Softball 3.48 Athletic Director's List
Quinn Echelson Baseball 3.44 Athletic Director's List
Cameron Recny Baseball 3.44 Athletic Director's List
Spencer Taylor Baseball 3.44 Athletic Director's List
Amanda Berecz Volleyball 3.40 Athletic Director's List
Emma Gray Volleyball 3.40 Athletic Director's List
Isabelle Zatoni de Oliveira Volleyball 3.34 Athletic Director's List
Danielle Arceneaux Softball 3.33 Athletic Director's List
Mackenzie Reeves Softball 3.33 Athletic Director's List
Conor McCormack Baseball 3.31 Athletic Director's List
Collin Teegarden Baseball 3.29 Athletic Director's List
Taylor Dotson Softball 3.27 Athletic Director's List
Connor Andrews Baseball 3.22 Athletic Director's List
Taylor Turner Softball 3.21 Athletic Director's List
Angel Padilla Baseball 3.20 Athletic Director's List
Andrew Miele Baseball 3.16 Athletic Director's List
Seth Martin Baseball 3.11 Athletic Director's List
Dean Niarchos Baseball 3.11 Athletic Director's List
Jenna Curtis Softball 3.10 Athletic Director's List
Gabriela Hernandez Volleyball 3.06 Athletic Director's List
Dylan Droke Baseball 3.00 Athletic Director's List