Sports

Sophia Falco’s state title effort for Mustangs earns All-Area nod

Lakewood Ranch’s Sophia Falco poses with her state track meet medals in a photo shoot for being named the Bradenton Herald’s all-area player of the year for girls track & field for the 2016 spring season.
Lakewood Ranch’s Sophia Falco poses with her state track meet medals in a photo shoot for being named the Bradenton Herald’s all-area player of the year for girls track & field for the 2016 spring season. ttompkins@bradenton.com

Sophia Falco, Junior, Lakewood Ranch

To her credit: Falco completed one of the best seasons in Mustangs history by leading Lakewood Ranch to the Class 4A championship in Bradenton. She claimed gold in the long jump, silvers in the triple jump and 100 meters, and a fifth in the 200.

Ranch scored 68 points to win the state title. Falco accounted for 30 of those.

Falco, whose sister, Talia, was also a state champion for Lakewood Ranch and now competes for Kent State, battled through shin splints to produce a season to rival her older sister’s. The junior added Class 4A-Region 2 championships in the long and triple jumps, and Class 4A-District 8 titles in both jumps and the 200. She only competed in the triple jump a handful of times before the postseason and still jumped 40 feet, 2 inches in the final, falling four inches short of the winning distance.

Fast fact: Shin splints aren’t the only issue Falco has to contend with on the track. The athlete also struggles with severe athletic-induced asthma.

Up next: Falco has one more season with the Mustangs, where she’ll likely be the favorite to win state championships in the long jump and triple jump. She’ll be one of the most sought-after jumpers in Florida.

Honorable mentions:

MANATEE — Raquel Lespasio, sophomore, runner; Alison Ecker, junior, runner; Jacqui Armer, senior, thrower

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Reide Ryans, senior, jumper; Faith Schyck, sophomore, runner; Shay Lee, sophomore, runner; Kristine Akervold, junior, jumper; Olivia Ogles, senior, jumper; Cree Lotterer, junior, jumper

PALMETTO — Elizabeth Atkinson, junior, thrower

BRADEN RIVER — Alyssa Gagnon, junior, runner; Emma King, junior, jumper

SOUTHEAST — Priscilla Miller, sophomore, runner; Johnelle Clark, junior, thrower

BAYSHORE — Alexus Norman, junior, jumper

SAINT STEPHEN’S — Kaitlyn Siegel, senior, jumper

OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY — Saraiah Walks, seventh, runner; Sofia Gardinier, junior, runner

David Wilson: 941-745-7057, @DBWilson2

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