Ridaught: Area athletes excelling professionally

Former Trenton High School and University of Florida baseball player Wyatt Langford batted .300 in his first week with the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Former Trenton High School and University of Florida baseball player Wyatt Langford batted .300 in his first week with the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Photo by Scott Lucas

Last Tuesday, former Buchholz tennis player Ben Shelton advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 against No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe.

He became the youngest American man in three decades to advance to the U.S. Open semifinals.

On Friday in the semifinals, the 20-year-old Shelton was eliminated by the world’s then No. 2 player and eventual U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

Despite the loss, Shelton has moved up to No. 19 in the latest Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings.

Djokovic, who won his 24th Grand Slam title, moved up one spot to No. 1 with a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory against Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s championship.

Ben Shelton tennis
Shutterstock Ben Shelton played at Buchholz High School and the University of Florida.

Carlos Alcarez, who lost to Medvedev in the semifinals, dropped to No. 2 in the ATP rankings, while Medvedev remained third.

Yesterday, former Eastside High School and University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson made his National Football League (NFL) debut.

Richardson, who is the Colts’ eighth different opening-day starter in the past eight seasons, was taken fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts in this year’s NFL Draft.

He also became the youngest opening day starting quarterback in franchise history and the third-youngest in NFL history.

On Sunday against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, the rookie completed 24-of-37 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in a 31-21 loss at home.

However, Richardson came out late in the game due to a bruised knee in the loss to the Jaguars and said his debut was overshadowed by the result.

“We didn’t win so I didn’t do good enough,” he said. “But first game, first experience, it felt good being out there with my teammates. The energy was good, we’ve just got to clean some things up, including myself, but it was fun out there just being back out there playing football.”

He scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on a 2-yard touchdown run to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive and tie the score at 7-7 on the first play of the second quarter.

“It felt good, I felt excited” Richardson said. “At that point I just thought that everything was rolling for us. Just getting in the box for the first time in my NFL career, it felt good. A shout out to my O-line for opening up the hole for me.”

Richardson, who also rushed for 40 yards on only 10 carries, threw his first NFL touchdown early in the second half, tying the game at 14-14 on a 39-yard scoring pass to Michael Pittman.

His only pick came when the Colts were down 24-21 with a little over five minutes to play. The Jags (1-0) scored three plays later for a 31-21 lead. 

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Richardson drove the Colts (0-1) 74 yards on 14 plays and down to the 1-yard line but got injured and left the game. On 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line, a Gardner Minshew pass was incomplete to hand the Colts their first loss.

Richardson said there is one big lesson that he learned.

“How different it is from college,” he said. “Every possession matters. Every down matters, every play matters. You can’t just take off one play because you think it’s alright. You can’t take off one quarter because you think you’ve got the lead, you’re going to get the W. Every play, every detail, everything matters in this league.”

The Colts will travel to face the Houston Texas at 1 p.m. this Sunday.

UF QB Anthony Richardson.
Photo by Tim Casey-UAA Communications Former Eastside (Gainesville) and University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson became the youngest opening day starter in Indianapolis Colts franchise history on Sunday.

While the season is just beginning for Richardson, the season is winding down for former Trenton High School and University of Florida baseball player Wyatt Langford.

Langford, who was taken fourth overall by the Texas Rangers in this summer’s Major League Baseball Draft, has six regular games remaining with the Frisco (TX) RoughRiders.

He was promoted last week to the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate
 and made his debut with the RoughRiders on Labor Day.

After going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his AA debut last Monday, Langford finished the rest of the week by batting .375 (6-for-16).

The 21-year-old is batting .300 with six hits, three doubles, 4 RBI in six games.

He also has walked six times with just the one strikeout.

Langford was assigned to the Arizona Complex League (ACL) Rangers on July 28, followed by a promotion to the Hickory Crawdads on Aug. 2.

Last Wednesday he went 2-for-2 with a double, a single, a sacrifice fly and a walk to lead the RoughRiders to a 4-0 home victory against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

In the regular season home finale on Sunday, the Rangers No. 2 prospect went 2-for-4 in the RoughRiders’ 11-2 win against the Naturals.

Langford will finish out the season with a six-game road series at Texas League South Division leader Amarillo beginning at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday.

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