HomeTeam Hot Shots
Clark Lea, Clearwater Central Catholic
Lea has emerged as the top golfer on a team full of talent. After a summer of junior tournaments, Lea segued into the high school season and didn't miss a beat. He shot 2-under 70 to win the Outback Invitational at East Lake Woodlands at the beginning of the season. He then shot 2-under 69 at Lansbrook Golf Club to win the East Lake Invitational on Sept. 16.
"The high school tournaments aren't set up as hard as the summer junior golf tournaments so it's not as bad," Lea said. "Right now I'm putting well. My strength has always been to hit the ball straight off the tee and hit greens. If I'm doing that, then I'm going to do pretty well."
Lea also has the opportunity to play with younger brother Hunter, a sophomore. Along with Davis Harrison and Thomas Salanito, the Marauders have a foursome that all shoots close to par.
Lea and CCC played last weekend in the Riverview Invitational at Lakewood Ranch. He shot 4 over, five shots off the lead. But as the season wears on, he believes his team has a shot at a state title.
"That's what we're all looking forward to," he said. "If we keep playing this way we have a chance."
Mackenzie Dufresne, Tarpon Springs
Dufresne, a junior, has been a member of the Spongers' varsity team since her freshman year. A six-foot outside hitter, she has seen the team get better each year. Prior to Monday's match against Dunedin, the Spongers were 11-3 and on top of Class 6A, District 11.
"It's been a big step up since my freshman year," Dufresne said. "Last year we started to step up more because we had players with more experience. This year we have been together for two years and we all connect with each other."
In three matches last week, prior to a weekend tournament, Dufresne had a total of 30 kills and 12 aces. She is the team's top offensive weapon. She also plays club volleyball. Though only a junior, Dufresne is one of Tarpon's captains.
Her physical skills are one reason why, but she also is a captain because of her leadership qualities.
"I'm very competitive," Dufresne said. "I always want to win, but I also try to bring my teammates up, too. I see myself as a leader of the team. I love the game. I'm very driven. This is something I want to do in college."
Dufresne said there was a brief time when she thought about transferring to a more traditional volleyball school like Palm Harbor University. But she stuck with Tarpon Springs because she believes the team will continue to get better.
"I have a strong feeling that we are going to win districts," Dufresne said. "I think we'll probably make it to the top eight in our region. That's the hope. I really think if we keep our mind to it, it's going to be a good season. ''
Rodney Page, Times staff writer