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Lightning Bolt track coach Garlynn Boyd dies

Bob Putnam

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Lightning Bolt track coach Garlynn Boyd, who was instrumental in the development of Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell and former Florida hurdler TJ Holmes, had died.

Boyd, a former state champion in the shot put at Dixie Hollins High, started the Lightning Bolt Track Club in 1991. Her youth program turned out some of the top athletes in the state — and the nation. 

Bromell, a former star at Gibbs, was named the Gatorade National Boys Track Athlete of the Year in 2013. A mural of him sprinting is painted above the bleachers in the school gymnasium. Two years ago, Bromell came back to St. Petersburg to put together a video with New Balance, his shoe sponsor. Boyd was featured prominently in the eight-minute feature. 

“Coach Boyd has been a great influence for me in helping me grow a mindset that will always help me stay in the game,” Bromell said in 2014. “She is a great coach, a motivator and a caring person.”

Holmes, who starred at Lakewood and Florida, is one of the top hurdlers in the world. 

Boyd coached other top athletes in Pinellas County, including former Dixie Hollins standout Kevin Marion, who still holds the state record in the long jump. 

For the past decade, Boyd had been in a wheelchair because of complications from high blood pressure and diabetes. Her right leg was amputated in 2013.

Yet she stayed devoted to track and field.  

For her, it was more than just coaching athletes. Boyd guided students through the recruiting process and helped them land scholarships.

“It’s my job and my coaching staff’s job to make sure that a kid’s dream to make it to college can come true,” Boyd said six years ago. “Going through the whole process can be difficult, and I try to help them as much as I can through that.”

The only time Boyd took a break from coaching was in 2013 when she was going through rehab after her leg was amputated. Still, she was giving advice from the hospital.

“I don’t think I could stay away from coaching for too long,” Boyd said back then. “I have no plans to quit. There are too many young kids that need me. I couldn’t imagine a life without it.”

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St. Petersburg girls soccer coach Rui Farias reaches 400 wins

Bob Putnam

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Rui Farias already knew the match was a big one. 

After all, the St. Petersburg girls soccer team he coaches took on Osceola Thursday night with the winner likely securing a spot in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference title match. 

Farias did not want to add any more significance to this one, so he avoided mentioning that he was going for his 400th career victory. 

“I was hoping not to add any more pressure,” Farias said. 

To win, to reach this major milestone, would be a tribute to his career. Farias started coaching at St. Petersburg in 1999. He guided the girls program. He coached the boys program. For a while, he was in charge of both teams at the same time.

They each had success under his tutelage, reaching the conference title match, winning district titles and making deep playoff runs too many times to count. 

The wins kept coming, so much that Farias had put off retirement because he knew he was close to hitting the 400-win plateau. 

Still, it was not just about victories. Farias has helped roughly 50 players, boys and girls, sign with college programs. 

On Thursday, the Green Devils started strong. Anna Cubito, a midfielder, scored on a penalty kick in the first half. The defense, always tenacious, did the rest, holding the Warriors scoreless in a 1-0 victory. 

Farias’ efforts to keep the milestone a secret did not work. Afterward, the girls showered him with confetti and sprinkles. They held up congratulatory signs. They whooped it up with noise makers. 

“To get to 400 means I’m getting old,” Farias said.  

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Boys Basketball

Friday sports schedule

Bob Putnam

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What to watch

Boys basketball

East Lake (14-0) at St. Petersburg (11-1), 7:45

This matchup is a battle between two of the top six teams in the state in Class 6A according to Max Preps (the Eagles are No. 1 and the Green Devils are No. 6). 

Girls basketball 

Play4Kay Shootout (all games at Central Baptist)

Montverde Academy vs. Plant, 5:30

Tampa Bay Tech vs. Brooks DeBartolo, 7

Seffner Christian vs. American Heritage, 8:30

The schedules

Boys basketball

Hope Christian at Faith Outreach Academy, 6

Sunlake at Freedom, 6

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney at St. Petersburg Catholic, 6

Tampa Catholic at Leesburg, 6:30

Ruskin Christian at Gulf Coast HEAT, 6:30

Candlelight Christian at Hillsborough Baptist, 6:45

Bradenton Bayshore at Countryside, 7

Zephyrhills at South Sumter, 7

Bishop McLaughlin at Bayshore Christian, 7

Jesuit at Spoto, 7

FISHS at Grace Christian, 7

Plant at Wharton, 7

Leto at Tampa Bay Tech, 7

Admiral Farragut at City of Life Christian, 7:15

Hudson at Tarpon Springs, 7:30

Classical Prep at Academy at the Lakes, 7:30

Berkeley Prep at Calvary Christian, 7:30

Springstead at Hernando, 7:30

Weeki Wachee at Central, 7:30

Keswick Christian at Northside Christian, 7:30

Lakeside Christian at Hernando Christian, 7:30

Northeast at Hollins, 7:30

Land O’ Lakes at Pasco, 7:30

Cypress Creek at Tampa Prep, 7:30

Crystal River at Nature Coast, 7:30

East Lake at St. Petersburg, 7:45

Bradenton Southeast at Boca Ciega, 7:45

Largo at Pinellas Park, 7:45

Osceola at Palm Harbor University, 7:45

Plant City at Riverview, 8

Seffner Christian at Cambridge Christian, 8

Hillsborough at Sickles, 8

Strawberry Crest at Armwood, 8

Wiregrass Ranch at Gaither, 8

Jefferson at Chamberlain, 8

East Bay at Bloomingdale, 8

Newsome at Durant, 8

Steinbrenner at Alonso, 8

Brandon at King, 8

Middleton at Robinson, 8

Sumner at Blake, 8

Boys soccer

Carrollwood Day at Seffner Christian, 4

Universal Academy at Berkeley Prep, 5:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Bradenton Saint Stephen’s, 6

Brooks DeBartolo at Bayshore Christian, 6

Bishop McLaughlin at Springstead, 6:30

St. Petersburg Catholic at Clearwater Central Catholic, 7

Clearwater at Fivay, 7

Osceola at Calvary Christian, 7

Hollins at Northside Christian, 7

Newsome at Sarasota Riverview, 7

Nature Coast at Tarpon Springs, 7

Cambridge Christian at Bradenton Christian, 7

Seminole at East Lake, 7

Largo at Keswick Christian, 7

Anclote at Lakewood, 7

Canterbury at Sarasota Out-of-Door, 7

Plant City at Lakeland Christian, 7

Hudson at Gibbs, 8

Dunedin at Palm Harbor University, 8

Wiregrass Ranch at South Sumter, 8

Pinellas Park at Countryside, 8:30

Girls basketball

Elfers Christian vs. Oldsmar Christian, 12

Admiral Farragut at Oasis Christian, 3:45

St. Petersburg Catholic at Calvary Christian, 4:30

Classical Prep at Academy at the Lakes, 5

Montverde Academy vs. Plant, 5:50

Lakeside Christian at Hernando Christian, 6

Keswick Christian at Northside Christian, 6

Springstead at Hernando, 6

Northeast at Hollins, 6

Gibbs at Seminole, 6

Academy of the Holy Names at Palmetto, 6

Clearwater vs. DME Sports Academy, 6:15

Hillsborough at Sickles, 6:30

Steinbrenner at Alonso, 6:30

Jefferson at Chamberlain, 6:30

Wiregrass Ranch at Gaither, 6:30

East Bay at Bloomingdale, 6:30

Carrollwood Day at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 6:30

Newsome at Durant, 6:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Cambridge Christian, 6:30

City of Life Christian at Tampa Catholic, 6:30

American Youth Academy at Cambridge Christian, 6:30

Middleton at Robinson, 6:30

Plant City at Riverview, 6:30

Strawberry Crest at Armwood, 6:30

Sumner at Blake, 6:30

Brandon at King, 6:30

Central at Weeki Wachee, 7

Zephyrhills at Mulberry, 7

East Lake at Mitchell, 7

Brooks DeBartolo vs. Tampa Bay Tech, 7

Bishop McLaughlin at Bell Creek Academy, 7:15

Tarpon Springs at Anclote, 7:30

Nature Coast at Crystal River, 7:30

Land O’ Lakes at Fivay, 7:30

Girls soccer

Bell Creek Academy at Cambridge Christian, 4

Largo at Keswick Christian, 5

Hollins at Northside Christian, 5

Anclote at Lakewood, 5

Northeast at Seminole, 6

Gaither at East Bay, 6

Hudson at Gibbs, 6

Venice at Wiregrass Ranch, 6

Dunedin at Palm Harbor University, 6

Gulf at Countryside, 6:30

Nature Coast at Cypress Creek, 6:30

Seffner Christian at Tampa Prep, 6:30

Fivay at Zephyrhills, 7

Land O’ Lakes at Tampa Catholic, 7

Robinson at Sunlake, 7

Academy of the Holy Names at River Ridge, 7:30

Crystal River at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

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Wednesday night rewind: Girls basketball

Bob Putnam

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Scoreboard

East Lake 52, Tarpon Springs 34

Universal Academy 29, Classical Prep 24

Steinbrenner 46, Riverview 45

Bloomingdale 62, Strawberry Crest 32

Fivay 67, Cypress Creek 11

Lennard 50, Robinson 43

Plant 59, Chamberlain 21

Wharton 51, Gaither 16

Armwood 66, Alonso 25

Hollins 54, Dunedin 33

Seminole 57, Pinellas Park 48

Hudson 59, Central 18

Carrollwood Day 70, Bradenton Southeast 51

Sunlake 54, River Ridge 50

Sumner 38, Plant City 37

Sickles 46, King 19

Middleton 43, Brandon 20

Boca Ciega 61, Palm Harbor University 37

Prime time performers

G Brianna Erickson, Jr., Pinellas Park: Finished with a team-high 20 points in a loss to Seminole. 

F/C Cennya Gaskin, So., Bloomingdale: Had 15 points and seven rebounds in a win over Strawberry Crest. 

G/F Tavi’yanna Habib, Sr., Armwood: Led the Hawks with 24 points, eight rebounds and five steals in a win over Alonso. 

G Nyla Jean, Sr., Plant: Finished with 19 points and five rebounds in a win over Chamberlain. 

G Joniryah Johnson, Sr., Hollins: Scored a team-high 15 points in a win over Dunedin. 

G/F Destiny Hines, Jr., Steinbrenner: Had a team-high 14 points in a win over Riverview. 

F Sarah Massillon, Jr., Middleton: Led the Tigers with 10 rebounds and five points in a win over Brandon. 

G Karimah Nix, Jr., Boca Ciega: Scored a team-high 24 points in a win over Palm Harbor University. 

G Halei Murrell, Jr., Lennard: Had a team-high 22 points in a win over Robinson. 

G Lexi Pizarro, So., Sickles: Scored a team-high 21 points in a win over King. 

G Whitney Rush, Sr., East Lake: Recorded a team-high 33 points in a win over Tarpon Springs. 

G Savannah Shaffer, Sr., Fivay: Finished with a team-high 17 points in a win over Cypress Creek. 

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