Photo: Danielle Kanas, 12, competes in the under 14 shot-put events the National Junior Disability Championships.

By Tamas Mondovics

Riverview, Apollo Beach and nearby community’s student-athletes gave parents, coaches and fans a great first half of the 2017-2018 athletic season, of which a few highlights provide clear testimony.

The start of the season drew attention to the success of the local 16U A Hockey team, after winning the state championship.

Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay, a program of Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, also enjoyed the spotlight last fall, after a record-setting day during the National Junior Disability Championships. The program in its Small Team Division posted nine national records along with top team honors including a gold medal, which came when 12-year-old Danielle Kanas shattered the old national record in the javelin by a stunning six meters.

The success of young athletes continued with a pair of Triple Creek BMX riders, Dylan Harnage, 9 and Tyler Harnage, 12, after the two qualified to represent Team USA and race in the BMX World Cup Championship at the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Triple Creek BMX facility is located at 12705 Balm-Boyette Rd in Riverview.

The Florida Batbusters ’05 Riverview (formally Riverview Warriors ’05) Fastpitch travel softball team also managed to enjoy the spotlight last fall. The girl’s victory came at the 12U USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) Emoji Madness Fastpitch softball tournament in Clermont, FL. The team dominated the top 12U teams in Florida.

Diving also made it on the list of sports that featured the success of local students, including Bell Creek Academy’s sixth-grade athlete, Aiden Sadler, who has managed to post a solid performance during this year’s USA Diving National Championship held in Columbus, OH. The win qualified Sadler to represent TEAM USA in Victoria, Canada at the 2017 Junior Pan American Championships in October. 

Of course, the most anticipated sport each fall is high school football, which continues to draw large crowds to support their teams on Friday nights.

One of the most praised programs was the Bloomingdale Bulls varsity football team, which following a two-game loss to start the season managed to refocus and plow through its conference to reach the postseason for the third time in school history.

While the East Bay Indians fought hard during the season, the team led by program head coach Frank LaRosa will have to wait for next year’s competition for a chance to earn the coveted conference title.

The community is rightly looking forward to the second semester for more great achievements to highlight as well as celebrate.

For more information about local students and teams, please visit, www.maxpreps.com.