solly williams golf deland
EXCELLENT YOUNG GOLFERS FROM DELAND — From left, DeLandites Savannah Williams, age 8; Bentley Williams, age 10; and Caleb Williams, age 12, hold their certificates of achievement after participating in the U.S. Kids Golf Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina. To qualify, the children have to earn status points throughout the year in U.S. Kids golf tournaments, based on lowest scores and wins. It’s very unusual for three kids from one family to qualify. There were 2,100 participants from 54 countries. The three-day competition included an opening “parade of nations” through the streets of Pinehurst, with each country represented. The golfers shown here are the children of Michelle and Solly Williams. Solly Williams has been their coach since the children were old enough to hold a club.

Now that the first week of school for the 2022-23 school year has been completed, extracurricular activities begin to catch everyone’s attention. There are clubs, performing arts, enrichment activities and athletics.

There are also activities for parents and community members that attract attention, including School Advisory Councils (SAC) and the PTA. Each school will have an SAC, and if you’re interested, check in with your child’s school about possible membership.

As mentioned above, high-school athletics play a big role throughout the year. Fall sports include football on the varsity and junior-varsity levels of competition, girls’ volleyball on both levels, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ cross-country, boys’ and girls’ bowling, and boys’ and girls’ swimming.

This column keeps track of football for all the West Volusia high-school teams and all the DeLand High School minor sports.

West Volusia high-school football

All these schools have varsity football teams: DeLand, Deltona, Pine Ridge (in Deltona), and Orange City University high schools, Taylor Middle-High in Pierson, and Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona.

Most of the time, varsity games are played at 7 p.m. Fridays. The DeLand Bulldogs play their home games in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, while Deltona, Pine Ridge, University and Taylor play their home games on their individual campuses. Trinity Christian plays at a park in Deltona. These high-school schedules were made available by the school or by MaxPreps. Always check on the status of games, as things do change due to weather or other circumstances.

On Friday, Aug. 19, Preseason Classic or Fall Classic games take place. Those that this column is aware of have DeLand hosting Orlando Boone, Deltona traveling to Oviedo, and University going to Timber Creek in Orlando.

The first official games of the 2022 football season will be on Friday, Aug. 26, with all six West Volusia teams playing. DeLand will be at Mainland in Daytona Beach, Deltona plays host to Winter Springs, Pine Ridge is at Palm Coast Matanzas, Taylor greets Winter Park Trinity, University goes to Oviedo Hagerty, and Trinity Christian goes to Halifax Academy in Daytona Beach. All games are at 7 p.m.

DeLand High School athletic calendar

On Monday, Aug. 22, both of the DeLand High School golf teams (boys’ and girls’) will open competition for the minor sports at DeLand High. The girls’ golf team travels to DeBary Country Club at 4 p.m. to compete with University High of Orange City, while the boys play host to Pine Ridge of Deltona at 4:30 p.m. on the Victoria Hills course.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the DeLand High School Bulldog boys’ golf team travels to DeBary Country Club to face the University Titans golfers at 4:30 p.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, the DeLand High School Lady Bulldog volleyball team opens with a match at Spruce Creek, with the junior-varsity team playing at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity match at 7 p.m.

The DeLand swim team also opens its season Aug. 25 with a meet against Matanzas at 4 p.m. at the DeLand Family YMCA.

Stetson University Athletics

The Stetson University Hatter men’s tennis team has been honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for being a Division I All-Academic team. To receive the honor, a team needs to have a 3.2 GPA or better, while individuals need a 3.5 GPA or better.

The Hatter men had eight players receive individual honors: Tim Gennes, Josh Laka, Fabian Penzkofer, Diogo Marques, Clement Hamel, Sven Thiergard, Alexandre Hillhouse and Ervin Eminefendic.

The Stetson Lady Hatter tennis team earned the same honor, with seven of the players earning individual honors from the same group: Laia Pasini, Laetitia Rizk, Nadejda Maslova, Elodie Foster, Tess Menten, Daliyah Hammoud and Cheri Darley.

The Stetson men’s basketball team has added Joey Gruden as the director of operations. Gruden is the son of Jay Gruden, former head coach of the Washington, D.C., professional football team. Joey Gruden was a walk-on player on the University of Dayton basketball team, and served as a graduate assistant at the University of Louisville.

The Stetson Lady Hatter lacrosse team has also been honored; their honor came from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. The Lady Hats were named a Division I Honor Squad, which required the same criteria as mentioned above for the men’s tennis program. The Lady Hatters also had seven team members receive individual honors: Saige-Lyn Gidzinski, Kate Johnson, Jacklyn Lavoie, Luisa Medina, Kiera McCarthy, Saige Roe and Maria Snee.

College honors

Lauryn D’Amato, of Lake Helen, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Central Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, and a minor in psychology. She will be attending the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions in a master’s-degree program in speech language pathology.

Hailey Echevarria, of Deltona, has been named to the spring 2022 dean’s list at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. The daughter of Robert Echevarria and Lisa Echevarria, Hailey is studying chemistry.

Lauren Bjella, of DeLand, has been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2022 semester at Emerson College in Boston.

Katarina Blazetic, of DeLand, will continue her career in women’s volleyball at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.

— Send school news to Tony Tussing via email: at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here