Oak Hall 3-peats as top Class 2A athletic program in Florida

Oak Hall's Cassidy McDonald tallied 67 assists, 35 digs, 26 kills and eight service aces in the Eagles' three wins last week.
Oak Hall's Cassidy McDonald sets a ball during a volleyball match last season. The Lady Eagles advanced to the state semifinals, helping Oak Hall's athletic program take first in the state for Class 2A.
Photo by C.J. Gish

For the third consecutive year, Oak Hall School of Gainesville has been recognized as the top Class 2A athletic program in the state for the academic year. 

The Eagles edged True North (Miami), 68-67.5, in the Floyd E. Lay Sunshine Cup All-Sports Awards standings, which are presented by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA).

“Being recognized as the top overall athletic program in the state in Class 2A feels absolutely incredible,” said Oak Hall Athletic Director Edwin McTureous. “It’s a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion of our athletes, coaches, and supporters. We’re beyond excited and proud of this achievement, and it’s a true reflection of the spirit and determination that defines our program. This recognition energizes us to keep pushing the boundaries and striving for even greater heights in the future.”

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Points were awarded to a school based on its finish in FHSAA State Series competition in each sport in the classification in which it has been assigned to compete. 

In all sports with team scores, points were awarded as follows: 20 for the state champion, 12 for the state runner-up, nine for the state semifinalists, six for 5-8th places, and three for 9-16th places. 

In sports where 16 or less schools qualify for the state tournament bracket, points were awarded to the 1st through 8th place finishers using the same scoring system.

The Oak Hall girls finished second in the state in 2A with 50 points, while the boys finished ninth with 18 points.

Last fall, the Lady Eagles’ volleyball team lost in the 2A state semifinals, while the Oak Hall girls cross country team finished fourth overall at the 2A state meet

This past spring, several Oak Hall girls athletes made the Bosshardt Realty All Area team after leading the Lady Eagles to the 4×800 relay state title.

Two years ago, Oak Hall took home the trophy for the first time since winning the overall award back in 2010-11, and last year the Eagles repeated as the best overall Class 2A school in the state of Florida for the 2022-23 school year.

“Winning this award for the third straight year is truly an honor and a testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of our entire school community,” McTureous said. “As the Athletic Director, I am immensely proud of the 14 programs that have all contributed to this achievement. It demonstrates the strength, consistency, and talent across our athletic department.”

Williston finished second in the state overall in Class 1A with 55.50 points, which was just under three points shy of the No. 1 spot held by Blountstown.

“It shows the hard work that our athletes have put in during the offseason and seasons of each sport,” said Williston AD Lamar Waters. “Our coaches have helped build good cultures in their programs and held the kids accountable in the classroom and hallways. The community and administration have always been supportive and helped us do everything we needed to do for the kids to be successful.”

While the girls finished 10th in the state in 1A with 19.25 points, the Williston boys (36.25) had the No. 1 program in Florida.

This past March, the Red Devils won their second straight Class 1A state title.

“Our boys programs have benefited from a senior class that was not only talented, but were leaders in the classrooms, hallways and community,” Waters said. “Our district, school administrators and coaches bought into the idea of hard work and having the weight room as an integral part of each program. We have talented group of young athletes coming up, with their hard work and with continued community support we expect continued success for our boys programs.”

Hawthorne finished third overall in Class 1A (Boys – 4th & Girls – 5th), followed by Trenton at No. 6 (Boys – 6th & Girls – 2nd) and Branford, which is tied for 7th with Liberty County and Madison County.

The Branford girls finished just ahead of Trenton (32-30) at No. 1 in 1A while the Newberry girls and boys finished just outside the top 10 at No. 11.

Among the bigger classifications, Suwannee (Live Oak) finished third overall in 4A, with the boys finishing second and the girls eighth.

Buchholz finished seventh overall in 6A with a total of 91.75 points and just missed on a top five finish behind No. 5 Nease (Ponte Vedra) with 96.35 points and No. 6 Fleming Island (Orange Park) with 96.10 points.

“Being recognized as a top program in 6A is something we are extremely proud of,” said Buchholz AD Ron Brooks. “Our Administration and coaches work hard to provide a great experience for our student athletes here at Buchholz.”

He also credited faculty and staff for their support of Buchholz sports programs.

“The family environment here at our school really shows with recognition like this,” Brooks said. “The students we have in our programs have performed at a high level and we are really proud of their accomplishments both in the classroom and in athletic competition. They have done an excellent job representing our school.”

Bobcats rush Wyatt Clarke on the field after he delivers a game-winning strikeout to earn the district title.
Photo by Seth Johnson Buchholz players rush Wyatt Clarke on the field after he delivers a game-winning strikeout to secure the district title.

The Bobcats had the fourth best boys program in 6A with a total of 66 points.

This past May, the Buchholz baseball team advanced to its first state championship game in program history and the boys track and field team finished fifth in the state.

Last fall, the Buchholz boys cross country team was a state runner-up

“We have some tremendous coaches leading our boys’ programs,” Brooks said. “They are great leaders and hold student athletes to high standards both academically and athletically. The student athletes in our boys’ programs have modeled this leadership on campus and on their teams. I really feel that this along with being really good athletes has helped carry on the tradition of excellence here at Buchholz.”

The overall winners were Winter Park (7A), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) (6A), American Heritage (Plantation) (5A), Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A), Montverde Academy (3A), Oak Hall (2A) and Blountstown (1A).

FHSAA will provide each school with a plaque and a letter from Executive Director Craig Damon.

Oak Hall will seek its fourth straight trophy during the upcoming 2024-25 seasons.

“This continued success highlights our commitment to excellence and teamwork, and it inspires us to keep striving for greatness in every aspect of our programs,” McTureous said. “It’s a joy to see our athletes and coaches recognized for their outstanding efforts year after year.”

The completed standings break-down as follows:
• Overall Full Standings
• Girls Full Standings
• Boys Full Standings

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