Left: Jonathan Owen was nominated by his coach Jennifer Beach for being a team player and leader. Right: Tessa Pignataro was nominated by her coach Justeen Coulson for her leadership skills.

Florida Orthopedic Institute (FOI) recently announced its Athlete of the Week award winners for the week that ended on October 19. The winners were picked by their head coaches for their leadership and commitment to their teams.

Jonathan Owen is one of Bloomingdale’s team captains for cross country, and Tessa Pignataro is a member of the school’s volleyball team. Both students have lofty goals for their senior seasons. Owen wants to make it to the state finals and Pignataro hopes to lead her team to a district championship.

“I first started running my freshman year, and was really inspired by the juniors and seniors, mainly Bo Benik and Colin Boutin,” said Owen. “Not only was I inspired by how well they did, I was also inspired by their dedication and how well they led the team. I really want to go to states one time before I graduate and this is the last chance I have,” said Owen.

Owen was nominated by cross country Head Coach Jennifer Beach. “Jon is an amazing team player and leader. He leads the team on and off the race course. He supports everyone on the team, and encourages our new and younger runners,” said Beach. “He just recently won the FLrunners.com Invitational and led the team to a close 2nd overall finish. He has worked since his first year with us to set the best example, and his hard work has paid off!”

Tessa Pignataro was nominated by Head Volleyball Coach Justeen Coulson for her leadership abilities. “Tessa is one of the hardest working kids I have ever coached,” said Coulson. “She shows up every day committed to excellence and committed to her team. She is a selfless athlete who under-stands the true concept of the word teammate. I am so impressed with Tessa on a daily basis and I know she will succeed in anything she sets her mind to because she already does that every day as a high school student,” Coulson said.
Florida Orthopedic Institute’s Athlete of the Week campaign was designed to focus the attention on student-athletes, recognizing them for their hard work and dedication both on and off the field. The Athlete of the Week award can be earned by displaying team leadership or being a team player.

“As a senior, I would like to carry on the legacy of winning districts,” said Pignataro. “It would make it the third year in a row of winning the championship. I want my team to accomplish this goal. If we play to our full potential, we are more than capable of winning,” said Pignataro.

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.