Bill to help nontraditional students fails to pass


A bill designed to allow nontraditional students to play sports and compete in extracurricular activities at the school of their choice didn't pass as the Florida Legislature adjourned its 2014 session.

House Bill 533 and Senate Bill 284 passed the House by nearly a 3-to-1 margin in late March but died in the education committee on May 2. Supporters of the bill titled it “Let the Kids Play.”

The bills proposed allowing home-schooled or students at virtual or online schools to participate at any public school in their district, or at a public school in another district. They could also elect to compete at a private school if the school were to allow it.

It was the third consecutive year that state lawmakers took aim, either directly or indirectly, at the Florida High School Athletic Association. Only one of those attempts — HB 1403 in 2012 — was passed and signed into law.

Titles for lifters

Four area weightlifters won state championships at the Class 2A meet on April 26.

Orange Park had a pair of winners. Jacob Abdel had a 645-pound total in the 183-pound weight class, and Andrew Ratica followed with a 680 in the 199 class. The total weights are the aggregate of a bench press and clean and jerk. 

Bartram Trail’s Will Tillo won at 219 pounds, lifting a combined 700 pounds. Columbia’s Anthony Springborn won at 129 with a total of 505. 

Oakleaf had a pair of runners-up, Jarred Banks at 119 pounds (405 total) and Ryan Broskie at heavyweight (765 total). Fleming Island’s James Murray was second at 169 with a 600 total


Four Bartram football players committed to colleges: Romello Bentley (Jacksonville), Travis Boller (Trine), Karl Harris (Cumberland) and Ian Safar (Methodist). ... Ware County basketball player Sharieff Medlock signed with Chicago State. ... Raines defensive back Carlton Williams signed with Tulane. ... 

Bolles had 20 athletes sign letters of intent. In baseball, Cameron Blaquiere (Florida State College at Jacksonville), Cody Boswell (Florida State College at Jacksonville), Henry Edwards (Oglethorpe) and Mitchell Horowitz (Tallahassee Community College). In crew, Hamilton Eng (MIT), Regan Hamilton (Boston University), Kayleigh Painter (Florida Tech) and Alex Wulbern (Saint Joseph’s). In cross country, Lily Arnold (Washington and Lee), Ashton Butler (Florida State), Austin Decker (Florida) and Jasmine Maina (Auburn). In football, Stokes Rowe (Carson-Newman). In golf, Jake Nelson (LaGrange). In swimming, Michael Fonteno (Air Force), Walker Hill (UConn), Emily Jacobs (Cal Poly), William McKinney (Auburn), Matthew McPheters (U.S. Military Academy) and Samantha Merta (Delaware). ... 

Episcopal had 12 athletes commit to colleges. In soccer, Allis Adimey (Oglethorpe), Billy Bosley (Flagler), Maggie Ely (Centre) and Tucker Van Cleave (Catawba). In swimming, Haley Brown (Berry), Billy Walker (Berry) and Henry Wilson (Swarthmore). In rowing, Savannah Blitch (Florida Tech) and Alexandra Shapiro (UMass Amherst). Zach Gerry (Rollins, lacrosse), Natalie Lewis (Emory, track and field) and Billy Remley (Florida State College at Jacksonville, baseball) also selected colleges. 

Honors, etc.

St. Anslem College women’s lacrosse player Jane Bunn (Creekside) was named Northeast 10 goalkeeper of the week. She was 1-0 the previous week with a 6.08 goals against average. … The first-year Old Plank Christian baseball team won the Southeastern Christian Conference tournament. Old Plank beat Brunswick Christian 19-1 in its opener, then topped Riverside Christian 10-2 for the title. Sam Knighten hit .875 in the two games and pitched six innings of one-hit ball. Ricky Cone had a .625 average in the tourney.