The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) ranked Saint Stephen’s Athletics the top 3A all-sports program in its 2016-17 Sunshine Cup standings. However, if you thought that was amazing, just wait. In three short years, we have made terrific strides in becoming the quality athletic department that a recognized world-class academic institution deserves.
By capturing state championships in football, boys track & field, and boys tennis doubles, we have proven one simple philosophy – state championships are won during the summer and off seasons! This summer we have had more teams than ever before preparing for their seasons by participating in our preseason strength and conditioning program. On a daily basis, our fields, gymnasium, and weight rooms have been filled with students and coaches working hard to prepare for greatness.
Last year, we hosted many of the FHSAA events in order to expose the community to our beautiful campus and to showcase our talents. In doing so, we were the site for the girls and boys district cross country meets, the girls regional golf tournament, the girls and boys district soccer tournaments, a boys regional soccer game, a girls lacrosse state play-in game, the boys district basketball tournament, the girls and boys district track and field meet, the girls and boys Manatee County Track & Field Championships, the girls and boys district and regional tennis tournaments. This year, we will take a break from hosting at such an intensive pace and focus more on advancing our programs throughout the state.
New for SSES Athletics is a small shift of our middle school teams to the local Florida Sunshine Charter Schools League (FSCL). When the FHSAA recently changed its policy regarding competition requirements for middle school teams that are part of a combination school, it opened the door for our Falcons to showcase their talents locally and become part of their own conference. Unfortunately, because the FSCL plays soccer during the spring season, our middle school soccer teams will remain under the FHSAA umbrella in the winter. We will, however, launch a middle school golf team to compete in the FSCL during the spring.
Please help me give a Falcon welcome to the following new members of our coaching staff:
Bret Bystricky is our new Middle School Athletic Director and PE Coordinator. Coach Bystricky has been athletic director at the East Wake Academy (Knightdale, N.C.) since March 2009. He is a nationally certified athletic director with the NIAAA and will bring a wealth of knowledge to our vibrant middle school program. Bret will oversee the entire middle school program and teach the sixth-eighth grade PE class.
Sheri Hart is our new head swim/dive coach. Coach Hart joins us from Atlanta, Ga., where she has been the event director for Swim Across America, hosting an open water swim that has raised more than $1.25-million for pediatric cancer research. She was a national record holder as a high school swimmer, a two-time All-American at the University of Southern California, and an Olympic Trials finalist. Her resume also include an assistant coaching position for The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, and being voted the 2011 FINA World Masters Swimmer of the Year.
Through hard work, long hours and total commitment to our sport, our school, and to each other - WE have changed everyone’s opinion of Saint Stephen’s Athletics. Congratulations. Well done. Now, let’s go do it again.
2016-17 FHSAA Sunshine Cup All-Sports Standings
Combined 3A-4A Private Schools
|1. Tallahassee Maclay (4A)||57.8||50.0||107.8|
|2. Orlando First Academy (4A)||29.0||73.0||102.0|
|3. Ft. Lauderdale Westminster (4A)||84.3||16.0||100.3|
|4. Jacksonville Providence (4A)||37.0||58.0||95.0|
|5. Palm Bch. Gardens Benjamin (4A)||28.5||53.0||81.5|
|6. Gainesville Oak Hall (4A)||14.5||58.0||72.5|
|7. Saint Stephen's (3A)||44.0||27.0||71.0|