Column: Markys mark end of another prep sports season

The Markys are back!

Welcome to the 15th edition of our annual look at the moments and athletes that shaped a sports season in Putnam County. As we’ve done the last few years, the showcase takes place over two Saturdays. The bigger honors will be in next Saturday’s edition of the Daily News.

So without further adieu, find your seats and look up to the stage as we start handing out Markys from the 2018-19 season.

Best Supporting Athlete: This award means you didn’t get your name in the paper quite as often as some of the other outstanding athletes. But Peniel Baptist Academy’s volleyball and softball teams wouldn’t be the same without the character and hard-working grit of senior Kristen Flateau. The valedictorian of her class, Flateau contributed 30 service aces, 27 digs and 30 assists on a Warriors volleyball team that went from a winless 2017-18 season to winning eight matches and coming up one win short of advancing to the state tournament this past fall. And in the spring, Flateau hit .327 with 21 runs scored and 17 RBI. In the Region 1-2A championship at home on May 14, Flateau played her best game, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI, the last hit bringing in the final Peniel Baptist run to finish a 12-2, six-inning mercy-rule victory over Jacksonville Christ’s Church at Rotary Park to send the Warriors to their first Final Four appearance in any sport.

Stick-to-it-ive-ness Award: As a junior, Axel Ocampo lost almost his entire junior season after breaking his leg in the Crescent City High School boys soccer team opener against Port Orange Spruce Creek. He tried to play in a couple of games, but the leg wasn’t where Ocampo thought it should have been and he was relegated to being a spectator during his team’s 16-12-1 run to the Region 2-2A championship game. Getting back on the field meant having to wipe away the memories of having his leg broken. But Ocampo slowly worked his way back to playing again and this year, he was back on the field, contributing two goals and five assists on a Raiders team that went 15-8-3 and went back to the state tournament. Simply put, Ocampo, who recently graduated, didn’t give up.

Inspiration of the Year: This one goes to a coach ... one who no longer is among us. Drew Richardson died on May 15, 2018, and his death left a hole with the Crescent City girls soccer team he coached So such leaders as Jenny Galvan pumping in a county-record 65 goals and a senior defensive stalwart in Andrea Gomez, the Raiders had their best season in 15 years, going 15-4-2, and reaching the District 5-2A semifinals. Ashlee Swales-Frombes was the Daily News’ Coach of the Winter season honoree taking over as head coach after being Richardson’s assistant the past three years. The 15 wins were two more than the 13 wins the team won under Richardson, but it was his guidance and care for the players that made many along with their new head coach dedicate the season to “Richie.”

No one involved with the program will forget the ‘18-19 season.

Shame of the Year: The disaster at Williston’s softball complex on April 29 in the District 6-1A softball tournament opening game between Hawthorne and Crescent City.

The teams were tied at 7-7 going into the eighth inning when the Raiders scored seven runs in the top half to take a 14-7 lead. But a tiring Savannah Lepanto had trouble locating her pitches and Hawthorne took advantage of an error to come back and tie the game at 14-all, sending it to the ninth inning. However, Hawthorne’s scorekeeper, the holder of the official book as the home team, came out before the ninth was supposed to start and said that Crescent City was leading 15-14, even though Raiders coach Karen Baker said the game was tied and the scoreboard even flashed the 14-14 tie. So instead of checking it out with Baker and her scorekeeper, the umpire believed the Hawthorne scorekeeper and called an end to the game. Wonder how many days it took before Hawthorne’s softball program realized the error. The Raiders went on to lose to top-seeded Hilliard in the next round.

Newcomer of the Year: Kierra Chauncey told new head coach Gerald Swayze she was going out for cross country at Interlachen High School to get herself in shape for basketball season. But no one – and I mean no one! – expected what happened next. Chauncey came into her own quickly, but on Oct. 25 at Alachua’s Legacy Park, she made history by winning the District 5-2A championship in 21:40, the first Putnam County girl to win a district cross country championship. The junior would end Galvan’s two-year reign as PDN Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. She went from there to earn All-County girls basketball honors as the Rams’ point guard with 69 assists and 87 steals, while averaging 7.5 points a game. And in the spring, she won three honors at the county track meet, capturing the 800, 1,600 and 100-meter high hurdles, then advanced to the Region 2-2A meet by winning the 3,200 and taking second at the District 5-2A championship.

She won’t be so new to people next year.

We will finish the Markys up next week.

Mark Blumenthal is a writer for the Palatka Daily News. You can reach him at or on Twitter @diabolicalmarky.

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