By Tori Kitchens
Swimming and Diving
Oak Hall’s swimming and diving team took to the pool yesterday for its district meet. Seven boys and 14-16 girls participated at the district competition. The athletes competed against Community Christian, Florida High, Maclay, North Bay Haven, St. Francis, PK Yonge, Rocky Bayou Christian, and Pensacola Catholic. Last season, the girls achieved a third-place finish in the district, while the boys placed fifth.
Having several goals this season, head coach Quinn Bohan’s main goal is not to win a title, but for each athlete to grow and have fun. “The mission of our team is to help our athletes fulfill their athletic goals while here at Oak Hall,” he emphasized.
Oak Hall’s volleyball team began its postseason run on Tuesday at Countryside Christian. As the district’s No. 1 seed, Oak Hall received a bye Monday night and defeated No. 4 seed Countryside Christian. Having beaten Countryside Christian in three sets at their gym, Coach Perry McDonald is confident in his team’s success. “Our hope is that we can win our District Championship because, if we do, we’re going to be able to come through and bring our fans at Oak Hall some really fun playoff volleyball,” he said.
The volleyball team has not been able to bring home a district title since 2010. The Lady Eagles have a tough task at hand, as most members don’t have much experience in postseason play. “This team is poised to do what no other team in the past probably eight to 10 years has done,” McDonald shared.
McDonald has high hopes for his team. Besides bringing Oak Hall another district championship, his main goal is to give the girls of the team experience in the post season to grow from in the upcoming years. “We’re very lucky to have three phenomenal seniors – Cate Cannon, Sophia Aulisio, and Emi Scorpio – that are really doing a sensational job on the court guiding this team and helping them be successful,” McDonald noted.
Both the boys and girls golf teams at Oak Hall have its district tournament at Ocala National Golf Club on Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. This tournament is an all-day 18-hole match that will be hosted by Trenton High School.
Oak Hall’s boys’ golf team is hoping to place in the top three in order to advance to the regional tournament. The competitors include St. Francis, Eastside, and Trenton to name a few. Boys’ captains Lucas Katz (OHS class of 2024) and Tanmay Chandra (OHS class of 2025) both have a similar goal in mind: a back-to-back district win for the first time since 2011. “We have the best win record, I believe, in close to 15 years, so it’s looking good,” Katz shared.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Eagles must place as one of the top two teams to qualify for regionals, which shouldn’t be difficult considering the team is looking to win its third district championship in a row. Although members of the team have been strong at the district level, none of the athletes have advanced to regional competition before. Senior co-captain Amanda Malnik is hoping the team plays its best in the postseason. “We need to work on our short game and putting in particular as a team,” Malnik noted.
Oak Hall’s cross country programs are hoping to bring home another district win at Alligator Lake in Lake City on Oct. 26. The girls are set to begin competition at 9 a.m. and the boys at 9:40 a.m. All teams are eligible to compete with up to 10 runners at districts. The top eight teams will qualify to the regional competition. “If we do our own jobs, we worry about ourselves, it’ll take care of itself,” Coach Edwin McTureous said.
McTureous is confident that he will see multiple Oak Hall runners place in the top 10 in both the girls’ and boys’ competitions. Senior Lauren Jones and junior Caden Montini are currently the top runners for Oak Hall, but McTureous expects that many other of the teams’ runners have a shot at an individual district title. “If one [opponent] has an off-day, I think we have several boys that [have] a chance to win,” McTureous noted.
After a tough season plagued by injuries, Oak Hall’s football program is getting prepared to begin its playoff run on Oct. 29. Out of 24 teams, the Sunshine State Athletic Conference (SSAC) ranks the top eight teams to continue into the playoffs. “We are guaranteed two games, so if for some reason we lost the first round, we would still be able to play in a consolation game the next week, but then that would be it,” Head Coach RJ Fuhr explained.
Most of the Eagles’ injured players are set to return before the playoffs. Senior quarterback Georgi El-Semarani re-injured his ankle in his first game back during the regular season. Although El-Semarani does not have a set return date, he is hoping to play in the final regular season game against St. Francis. “[I am] aiming to try and be back fully by playoffs,” he said. Junior Eliah Bacchus is the only player that will not return for the playoffs, as he injured his femur.
The team’s experience at the State Championship game last year at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland gave the Eagles a beneficial experience that is being utilized during the postseason this year.