1. Mario Williams: Plant City High School football/baseball
Even with all eyes on him as one of the top football recruits in the country, Mario Williams kept performing at a high level in both football and baseball. Williams finished the 2020 football season with 740 receiving yards, eight touchdown catches, 141 kick return yards and 1,002 total yards through the Raiders’ nine games.
With a 3.16 batting average, team highs of seven runs and three triples, five RBI, six hits, one home run, four stolen bases and a perfect fielding percentage, it’s reasonable to think his final baseball season would have also been great if not for COVID-19.
He leaves for Oklahoma as one of the most complete, consistent athletes the Plant City area has ever produced.
2. Kali Vician: Strawberry Crest High School soccer
There will be more on this Crest team later, but here’s a nod to one of the program’s all-time greats. Kali Vician finished the 2019-20 season with 32 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and has already outpaced herself this year (34 points; 11 goals, 12 assists).
Her 29 goals through 29 games have her tied with teammate Ezra Carpenter for tops in program history, but her 24 career assists and 12 single-season assists are both all-time highs and she should graduate this year with both records to her name.
3. Hendon Haley: Durant High School wrestling
Hendon Haley’s quest for a state title continued in his final season with the Durant Cougars and he did make it back to the tournament at 138 pounds.
In the regional tournament, Haley overcame an early-round loss to Tyler Eastes of North Port in the finale of the third-place bracket. That time, he won by fall (2:40) to punch his ticket to states. Unfortunately, Haley was eliminated from states in the third-place bracket.
4. Hubert Pilichowski: Strawberry Crest High School swimming
Strawberry Crest’s swimming and diving program has sent plenty of kids to the state tournament in the recent past, but 2019 was an exception to the norm. That little drought ended in 2020.
Hubert Pilichowski, one of seven Chargers to make the cut for regionals individually, finished the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:01.87 to qualify for the big one. Coincidentally, it was the same event in which Crest was last represented at states in 2018.
5.Kayla Swinson: Durant High School softball
Durant’s softball team went on an absolute tear before everything got shut down, putting up a 7-0 record with a 59-5 scoring differential. Scoring a run on Kayla Swinson, who threw every pitch for Durant in those seven games, was nearly impossible.
Swinson posted an ERA of 0.50 and struck out 58 batters in 42 innings while only giving up six walks. It’s nearly criminal that Swinson and this loaded Cougars team got robbed of the rest of the season, but we can’t change the past.