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Lake City High School

Lake City ‘to challenge for region championships’

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Lake CityLake City athletic director/baseball coach Matt Apicella has seen plenty during his nearly two decades at the school.  The longest tenured member of the athletic department, he moved south in 1999.  He hasn’t left since.

“I didn’t expect to stay in Lake City.  I planned on coming down for a year and then going back up North and going to law school.  I met Coach Mickey Moss – he’s a legend of the state – and I just really enjoyed being with him and the way he did things.  I fell in love with the kids and the community and been here ever since,” said Apicella.

A lot has changed since that first season.  The landscape of athletics has changed and it is more difficult than ever to maintain a successful program.

“The kids definitely have a lot more to do nowadays, in terms of technology and video games and that kind of thing.  It has gotten a lot tougher to get kids who will commit in the summer and put in the time needed to be successful.  We’ve been fighting numbers, especially in the girls’ athletics the last few years, getting the participation to come out,” Apicella said.

The Panthers are looking for bounce back seasons in multiple sports, but the coaching staff has almost completely remained intact. 

In the fall, Terrell Fleming returns to coach football while Josh Jennings remains in charge of cross country.  Miranda Atkinson enters her second season with the volleyball team.

Kevin Graham, who joined the staff in 2000, is back to mentor the wrestlers.  Michael Manning and Charm Eaddy handle boys’ and girls’ basketball, respectively, and Tonia Wilson is the cheerleading coach. 

Eaddy will also lead the softball team in the spring while serving as assistant athletic director.  She has been at Lake City for 15 years.

Matt Luna (boys’ soccer) and Kristal Martinez (girls’ soccer) lead their own programs while the boys’ and girls’ track teams are still in need of head coaches.  Apicella believes those hires will come from within.

“We knew last year was going to be tough across the board.  We lost a huge 2017 class.  I thought we competed very well.  Everybody through the young kids in the fire and they saw what they had to do to compete.  All those young freshmen and sophomores are now middle and upperclassmen, so we’re expecting to challenge for region championships across the board,” said Apicella.

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