Commentary | Two Lakewood Ranch swimmers shine at state swim meet

March 11, 2014 

Ryan Walker and Courtney Chapin, both swimmers for the Lakewood Ranch Wave Runners, participated in two events at the recent 2014 Florida Swimming Senior Championship held at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando.

The 15-year-old Walker turned in two personal bests with a 2 minute, 12.97 second time in the 200-yard breaststroke for 10th place and a time of 1:01.38 for 13th place in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Chapin, the only 14-year-old in the 14-16 age division 100-yard backstroke event, snagged seventh place by clocking in at 59.71 seconds.

She also took 14th in the 200-yard backstroke with a 2 minute, 11.04 second time.

The duo were competing against an average of 55-85 qualifying swimmers in each event.

Walker and Chapin represent the Wave Runners at the Y-National Short Course meet in Greensboro, N.C., in April.

Darling-Reed gains another top finish in inaugural Ranch race

The inaugural Rockin Ranch 5K was held at Lakewood Ranch's Premier Sports Campus on Saturday.

Sarasota's RJ Natherson and Robyn Natherson won the male and female divisions, respectively.

RJ Natherson ran the course in 17 minutes, 54 seconds while Robyn fin

ished in 20 minutes, 32 seconds.

Other male division winners included: Fort Myers' Torrin Brauch (Masters, 19:48), Bradenton's Timothy Hochuli (Grand Masters, 25:49), Bismark, N.D., resident David Strauss (Senior Grand Masters, 25:26) and Sun City's Bob Rayna (Veteran, 40:51).

Other female division winners included: Bradenton's Rae Ann Darling-Reed (Masters, 22:14), Bradenton's Peggy Robinson (Grand Masters, 42:04), Sarasota's Sher Bedford (Senior Grand Masters, 28:07), Nokomis' Sandra Weber (Veteran, 28:07).

Darling-Reed, Manatee High's cross country and track coach, also excelled at the Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K in Tampa at the end of February. She turned in a time of 34 minutes, 50 seconds to win the women's masters and finish eighth overall among females.

Pitcher throwing gems

Inspiration Academy, located in Bradenton, has a stellar pitcher on the mound this season.

Payton Jenkins, a high school senior, has racked up 45 strikeouts in 35 innings this season, with five consecutive complete games.

In a game against Saint Stephen's last week, Jenkins allowed just two hits and issued one walk against the eight strikeouts in a 3-0 victory. He also launched his fourth home run of the year.

Gladiators win

The Bradenton Gladiators, the county's lone minor league football franchise in the Florida Football Alliance, earned a forfeit victory this weekend against the Palm Beach Makos.

The week prior, the Glads fell for the first time this year when they dropped a 38-20 decision against rival Orlando.

The Rage's victory, though, did not alter the NFC West standings as Bradenton (7-1) remains on top with a two-game lead.

There are three FFA weeks remaining before the postseason starts. The Gladiators host the Sarasota Millionaires and the Southwest Florida Panthers the next two Saturdays.

The games are played at the Manatee Police Athletic League Complex.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.

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