Maybe it is in the water, but for some reason the Marco Island Charter Middle School continues to produce top students and athletes.
In 2011 it was no different.
In basketball, the teams had great seasons. The girls made it to the Collier County Athletic Conference (CCAC) final game and the boys won the Sunshine Athletic Conference (SAC), finishing 17-4 on the season. Zach Gober became the school’s leading scorer in its history.
The girls and boys soccer teams each won SAC championships. The girls were nearly unstoppable, winning 18 in row before losing to a very good Oakridge team in the CCAC championship game.
In the spring both boys and girls track teams continued the Charter School legacy, winning the SAC championship. The girls finished second in the CCAC with then sixth grader Rosie Poling setting a county record in the 3200 meter run. The tennis team finished undefeated for the 10th straight season in winning the SAC title.
Just before graduation in May, the school held its Student-Athlete Sports Awards Night.
Again the choices were extremely difficult to choose the top two from and incredibly outstanding eighth grade class.
Winning the honors were Christy Thorstenson and Tanner Fulcher.
All Thorstenson did was be a leader on 15 sports teams in three years. She was selected all-conference in cross country all three years and contributed to eighth SAC championships. Thorstenson and her outstanding teammates won the school’s first Collier County championship when they won the cross country invitational.
Fulcher was no lightweight, playing on 13 teams, a leader in three cross country championships, and was named the top student-athlete in cross country and volleyball.
When school opened in the fall, football was the new topic of conversation.
Former NFL record kicker Mike Vanderjagt, with coaches Jim Young, Scott Gibbs and Chris Burt, learned quickly the team had talent.
Patrick Michel, Cody Young, Trevor Dye, McMullin and Josh Wagner, to name a few, manhandled most teams, winning seven of eight games.
The cheer squad added some great spirit under the direction of Lori Galiana, who returned to Charter School after teaching off island.
“It was a highlight to have her back,” athletic director Roger Raymond said.
The golf team had a good year against strong competition.
In an extremely unusual year, cross country coach Roger Raymond had no eighth graders returning for what usually were strong teams.
“The cross country teams had to rebuild as they both lost several key runners,” he said.
However, in his usual “aw-shucks,” manner, Raymond said, “The rebuilding went well!”
The boys won a number of meets and Joshua Wagner set a new school records for the 3K and 2-mile distances.
The girls were following the most successful team in school history and had lost six of the top seven runners.
But, now seventh grader, Rosie Poling was the runner who returned to lead a hungry girls team yearning to win.
Poling set new 3K and 2-mile school records, more than once, along with erasing her own CCAC record and establishing the record for the new Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). The team won a number of invitationals and the GCAC Championship. The team finished 6th in the state championship, with Poling racing to fifth.
So much for rebuilding, and both teams could have all runners returning.
Basketball and soccer teams are now in action. The boys soccer and boys basketball teams are undefeated, while the girls basketball team has just one defeat, heading into the tough January schedule.
“The 12 months had many great athletic moments, but the high academic standards of our school were once again the star,” Raymond said. “Our student-athletes stood out in the classroom as well as on the field. It was a super year.”