Editor’s note: This is the last installment of a three-part series documenting some memorable sports moments or snapshots from the Class of 2020.
The spring season, the final piece in our snapshots series, was a bittersweet finale to the school year.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of high school sports just a third of the way through the season. It took away the seniors’ chance to produce memorable moments and compete for championships.
Many of teams were on track for district and maybe even regional championships before the shutdown.
Charlotte and Venice softball were both off to scorching starts, the Charlotte boys weightlifting team opened the season without a loss in three events and a handful of track athletes were on a path to states.
Though the shortened season produced fewer moments, they were exciting nonetheless.
So take a look back on the Class of 2020 one last time and enjoy the excitement they brought with some of their best moments of the spring:
Younts, Tarpons out lift competition
No team could touch the Charlotte lifters this spring.
Charlotte won its first two meets — the Tarpon and Lemon Bay invites — by at least 30 points. From there they continued their hot start by beating Venice head-to-head.
Seniors like 169-pounder Jake Sheets and unlimited lifter Xavier Finnerty were on pace to help Charlotte become one of the best teams to pass through the school and potentially the best since the 2012 state championship team.
But they weren’t the only team off to a strong start. Venice lifter Zach Younts won each of his meets this year and maxed out with a bench of 325 pounds and a clean and jerk of 255. He placed fourth at states last year.
Grossenbacher makes history
Lemon Bay outfielder Bailey Grossenbacher has hit a lot of milestones in her four years starting for the Mantas. A two-time Sun Player of the Year, Grossenbacher certainly made her mark again as a senior while surpassing a former great.
In a 17-1 win over Community Christian, Grossenbacher drilled a first-inning dinger to tying the school’s career home run record and then rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run an inning later to break it.
She broke Brooke Clemens’s mark, a player she grew up watching at Lemon Bay.
In eight games this spring, she was batting .565 with 15 RBIs and three home runs to just three strikeouts.
Across the county, Charlotte’s Savannah Jacobs was having one of the hottest stretches of her career. She went 4 for 9 with nine RBIs during a three-game stretch, highlighted by a bases-loaded triple against Mariner.
Renoit makes his return
Though his return to sports technically happened during the fall cross country season, track and field was where he truly shined.
After suffering a stable fracture of his C1 and C6 vertebrae during football season his junior year, Wendy Renoit rehabbed to get back on the track for his senior season.
He helped lead the 4x400 and 4x200 relay teams to three combined wins and earned two top five finishes in the 200 and 400 meters in his first few meets back.
His teammate, Emani Jefferson, also broke the long jump record for the school with a leap of 18 feet, 10 1/2 inches.
Faulkner feasts on top competition
Venice pitcher Jacob Faulkner paid no mind to the level of talent standing in front of him at the plate against a nationally ranked powerhouse in Calvary Christian.
Faulkner didn’t allow a hit in the first three innings and took that no-hit bid into the sixth before giving up a two-out single. He finished with eight strikeouts over six innings with no earned runs in a 6-2 win just before the season shut down.