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Today's Sports

  • Lady Eagle point guard commits...

    Yelena Thomas was tempted to leave Bronson Middle High School to join forces with a more talented girls’ basketball squad. The standout point guard, who averaged around 18 points a game for her final three years of high school, has finally chosen another school to play ball at, but this time it’s on a college scholarship.

    On March 8 in the BMHS media center, Thomas held her official signing ceremony, revealing she’s committed to Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens.

    The Lady Lions compete in the NAIA level in the Sun Conference and are in the midst of their third straight winning season.

    Thomas’ family and coaches spoke at the signing, and Thomas herself, became emotional when she thanked her teammates.

    “You all really did help me this season, even though I fought with you like crazy,” Thomas said. “I think y’all are a big part of this too.”

  • Indians solve Trenton with...

    The Chiefland bats exploded for nine runs in the first two innings at Trenton to beat the Tigers for the first time in baseball since 2016 with a 12-8 win on March 7.

    It was the Indians’ district opener, while Trenton dropped to 1-1 in district play.

    All nine starters for the Indians hit safely in the game, as they bursted out of the gate with four straight base hits, culminating with a two-run single by Will Sumner.

    After Trenton responded in the first with a pair of runs to make it 3-2, CMHS rallied for six runs to extend its lead to 9-2. Seniors Elijah Smith and Aidan Horne had RBI singles in the frame while fellow senior Kelby Osteen added an RBI double. Senior center fielder Wyatt Hammond doubled in the seventh for Chiefland’s other extra-base hit on the night.

    Senior Keegan McLelland pounded out three hits for CMHS, and Payne Parnell and Horne each had a pair a the top of the order. Horne, Parnell, McLelland and shortstop Connor Whistler scored two runs apiece. Sumner collected four RBI.

  • Bronson softball monument a...

    If you were lucky enough to meet James “Jimmy” Durden, the first thing he’d ask you was whether you played ball or raced. His passion for sports and his compassion for people were bound together, and Bronson Middle High School recently unveiled a statue and plaque at its softball field that’s a dedication to both of those attributes of the late Bronson coach.

    With around 60 to 80 former players, friends and family in attendance, some of those who knew Durden best shared their memories of the beloved Bronson figure, before a statue of a catcher’s mitt with three entwined bats was revealed. Each of the three speakers struggled to finish as they remembered Durden and were overcome with emotion.

    The monument was dedicated by Durden’s Bronson Class of 1982. The plaque displayed at the base of the memorial structure reads, “BHS Class of 1982, In Dedication. Jimmy Durden ‘Eagle Risen’ Forever Friend, Classmate, and Coach.” The memorial is also a reminder that the 1982 Bronson softball team advanced to the state championship game.

  • Veterans Night at the ballpark

    The Chiefland High School Interact Club invites all veterans to the Chiefland Middle High School varsity baseball game March 26 at the CMHS baseball field. The Indians are facing Branford at 6 p.m. and veterans are encouraged to show up by 5:30 for a special pre-game recognition. Admission is free for veterans.

  • New football coach boasts...

    Chiefland’s new head football coach is familiar with the Chieland area and competing for state championships.

    John Palmer, who was recently named the successor to Adam Gore, has been a head coach for 21 years and has extensive playoff experience and a pair of state championships. He’s been a head coach at Bronson, Eustis, Hernando and Port St. Joe, where he won state championships in 2005 and 2014 on two different stints.

    He led Bronson to a playoff berth in 1998 and was an assistant at Williston. Hernando (Brooksville) is his alma mater.

    He took off 2018 from coaching but he felt it calling him back.

    “I took last year off, and I needed to, I was a little frazzled health-wise and stuff,” Palmer said. “But I missed it. We had got a very good coach at Port St. Joe. They were 11-1 last year.”

    Palmer has in-laws from the Chiefland and Bronson area, and he was already in touch with Gore.

  • Fledgling Running Sports Booster...

    It’s only been about a year and a half since the formation of the Chiefland Middle High School Runnings Sports Booster Club, which works to facilitate resources for the Indians’ track and field and cross country programs.

    Runnings sports might appear to have lo-tech needs, but that’s not actually the case.

    The booster club has big plans, and it’s reception of a $1,500 check through a grant from the Capital City Bank Foundation was a big step towards one of those ends. The funds were earmarked for a new pole vault set, which has already been ordered. The Club was figuring out the logistics of bringing it to Chiefland, from Ohio.

    Harry Hutson, a longtime coach, now technically retired, who was a principal figure behind the start of the club, can’t recall how long it’s been since the track and field program had a working pole vault set. It’s been longer than a decade, and its absence is costly to the team’s success.

    Hutson was a member of the school’s first-ever track team, coached by the legendary C. Doyle McCall.

  • Record-setting CMHS pair pick up...

    If you paid any attention to the Chiefland varsity softball team this past season, you know how critical to its success were the arm of Kensley Durrance and the bat of Macie Thomas.

    The work of the junior duo translated into a couple of record-breaking feats for the program, and now a spot on the Miracle Sports Class 1A First Team All-State lineup.

    Durrance, a right-handed ace, who set a single-season record with 217 strikeouts in her second season as the full-time starter, was selected to the First Team as a pitcher. The junior struck out 1.63 batters per inning and finished with a 17-5 mark in the circle, at one point winning 10 straight to open the season. She finished with a 1.26 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .163, while walking just 36 batters throughout her 133 frames.

    It’s the second year in a row Durrance was named to the First Team.

    Thomas, a slugging first baseman, who was selected as Chiefland’s top hitter and defensive player at the team banquet, was selected to the First Team as a designated player (DP), which is similar to a designated hitter in baseball.

  • Dynastic career

    Brittany Gilliam isn’t afraid of calling her shots.

    Her confident, well-earned swagger was the attitudinal underpinning of the Chiefland softball team’s historic run to its first Class 1A state championship in 2014, which kicked off three straight titles and four finals appearances.

    But she wasn’t expecting the level of success she and her North Georgia Nighthawks would enjoy in her senior year of college.

    The NCAA powerhouse went 62-4 before eventually falling in the Division II World Series.

    It didn’t look that promising in the fall, when the Nighthawks were splitting a series with a junior college team.

    “We still had some things to figure out,” said Gilliam, who is completing her degree in business marketing this summer before returning to Chiefland. “We had a young team, so we really didn’t know how the spring was going to play out.”

  • Worthy finish

    Austin Langworthy entered Florida’s Gainesville Super Regional baseball series against Auburn without a home run all season in McKethan Stadium.

    But the Gator baseball team, which broke through last season with its first national championship, has lately been all about unprecedented achievements.

    With his second home run in as many games Monday, the Williston alumnus led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk-off home run to right field to send UF to the NCAA Men’s College World Series (CWS) in Omaha, Nebraska, where it’ll seek to defend its title.

    Florida prevailed 3-2 in the closely-fought pitcher’s duel after splitting the first pair of games against the Tigers.

    Langworthy’s home run bounced off the glove of an Auburn outfielder, sending the sophomore left fielder, his club and the nearly 6,000 in attendance into ecstatic celebration.

    The thrilling hit earned the Levy County native a couple more unprecedented personal feats – his first Gatorade bath and an ESPN Sportscenter interview.

  • Softball superlatives

    The Chiefland softball program held a festive and busy awards banquet May 24 at the Concord Baptist Church in south Chiefland, recognizing players from all three of its teams – middle school, junior varsity and varsity.

    Players received various gifts and recognitions, including letters and pins.

    The seniors received the shadow boxed jerseys and special commemorative softballs with their pictures.

    The players were also treated to a special guest speaker, two-time Florida Gator national champion Taylore Fuller. Fuller, a 2012 Chiefland graduate, was a two-time All-American in Chiefland and a Florida Player of the Year, and she went on to start 203 games at UF, where she finished second in the program in grand slams.

    Fuller discussed a typical offseason day to impart what level of commitment it takes to perform at the highest levels on the diamond. She recounted a schedule that included a 5:45 a.m. workout, followed by class, and then a four-hour practice.