Weissman serves as the commish of the California Street pitch

NCT’s Kennedy Weissman                                                                                                                                 Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

GIRLS SOCCER

In Year 1, 5-foot-2

striker wins Hernando

County’s Triple Crown

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

In college hoop circles, there was none more influential than the “Wizard of Westwood” – Hall of Famer John Wooden of UCLA.

John Wooden

Wooden’s coaching legacy included such terrific players has Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton.

Kennedy Weissman

Locally, perhaps the best fitting moniker for Nature Coast Technical freshman striker Kennedy Alexa Weissman is the “Commish of NCT pitch.”

The urban dictionary says commish is short for commissioner. Meaning someone beyond awesome, beyond words.

Weissman, 15, didn’t just debut among the prep soccer ranks this past winter, but D-O-M-I-N-A-T-E-D.

At a soaking wet 5-foot-2 and 120 pounds, Weissman began her high school career leading the local circuit to a rare scoring Triple Crown.

On the pitch, that’s refers to leading all the Hernando County players in goals (34), assists (21) and total points (89).

Behind the multi-sport dynamo – who also competed in weightlifting and excelled in track and field – the Sharks leapt past defending champion Weeki Wachee to claim its first Hernando County title in five winters.

Weissman’s scoring prowess complimented sophomore Mia DeRonda and senior Maria Augugliaro to help balance out the attack.

As a result, the Sharks reached its initial district championship – 3A-7 at Wesley Chapel – for the first time in five seasons.

The Brooksville booters – under second-year Brandon Chitwood – etched the county’s finest overall record at 17-5-2.

Praise pours in

After being eliminated in the Class 3A, Region II quarterfinals by New Port Richey-River Ridge, 2-1, area coaches began heaping praise on Weissman.

She was not only named to her first All-Hernando County all-star team, but was also feted as the circuit’s Player of the Year.

Brandon Chitwood

“Her game starts well before she steps on the pitch with her mentality … Kennedy’s game is pure speed,” identified Coach Chitwood. “Type of player that likes to take over and dominate the field … We had a little bit of that with Mia (DeRonda) the year before … Kennedy is primarily a right winger … Our push has been for her to take over the middle.

“… In some regards, we held Kennedy back, “ noted Chitwood. “She played only four complete games all year … In Year 2, I want to see her take the ball inside more … She’s been trained very well to get the ball out wide … Has an innate ability not to get tired.”

Danny Fierro

“Kennedy is a rare athlete …You can’t coach the speed she has and she’s got a ton of it,” shared ex-Weeki Wachee skipper Danny Fierro, who stepped down after the season due to personal reasons. “The sky’s the limit on her ability going forward … To me, she’s a rare find.”

David Shrader

“She caught my eye in the preseason …That’s when I noticed how strong and how fast she was,” explained Hernando High mentor David Shrader, who was voted Coach of the Year after leading the Purple and Gold to its best season in 22 winters.

“… She could see the field exceptionally well … What sets her apart is her ball skills and her speed.”

Ken Brening

“I saw clean, crisp play from her … She could end up being another Sammy Betters,” described Central High’s Ken Brening. “I see nothing, but good things coming from her over the next three years.”

Upon hearing the POY news, Weissman was taken back by the balloting.

“I thought it would go to a senior,” said the strawberry blonde-tressed and brown-eyed Weissman. “Yeah, I thought I worked hard.

“… My parents really pushed me to do my best.”

Weissman 411

Kennedy was born in Miami as the youngest of two children to Chad and Julie Weissman.

Since relocating to Hernando County, the Weissman’s have called Spring Hill home for nearly 12 years.

There’s an unsubstantiated rumor that Weissman was born on the pitch.

Truth is, Kennedy’s first organized sport was gymnastics at 4 years old.

She specialized on the floor exercise for seven years.

She initially stepped onto the pitch at 10 years old. She’s played it since fourth grade, mostly as a right wing striker.

She’s played competitively with the Hernando Heat and as has been member of Tampa Bay United for the past three seasons.

Challenger K-8 Navigators

In middle school, she was a member of volleyball and basketball programs, but excelled in Challenger K-8’s track program.

As a sixth-grader, in a sign of things to come, she walked away with three gold medals in the long jump (13’8”) and as a member of the 4×100 and 4×400 relay squads.

In seventh-grade in the year-end Hernando County Championship Meet at Weeki Wachee High, again Weissman captured the long jump (15’2”) and served as member of the winning 4×400 relay squad.

As an eighth-grader, despite improving to 16’1” in the long jump, Weissman finished runner-up.

She also finished second in the 200 meters.

Weissman was a member of the winning mile relay team for a third straight spring.

After matriculating to the California Street campus of NCT, she joined the weightlifting team and also played soccer.

Under Rudy Story, she competed at the 119 and 129-pound weight classes.

She closed out Year 1 under the bar, finishing third in the county meet, third in districts and fourth in regionals.

In the spring, she was a critical cog in the Sharks’ sprint corps that enabled NCT capture the Hernando County and district championship.

Nature Coast’s Abigail Fontano hands off to Kennedy Weissman in the 4×100 relay.                                Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Despite her several talents, she is undeniable in which is her favorite sport.

“Soccer is my favorite, but I love playing all my school sports,” shared Weissman.

Why soccer?

“I love making plays for my team and being the fastest one out there,” she smiled. “I like to share the ball.”

Her biggest issue?

“Being a wing player and going back on defense and bringing the ball forward is a chore.”

The speed of the game is different shared Weissman.

“High school ball is a lot slower than competitive ball. There are different types of players out there.”

After earning the Triple Crown, she didn’t boast.

“I see myself as a team player,” shared Weissman. “I take my shots, when I can. I’m really just working hard in every game.”

“…The only stat that matters is winning as much as you can as a team. Wesley Chapel won districts again, but they aren’t much better than us. They just got into our heads. They know they have a lot of talent over there.”

Looking ahead, “Our future is bright,“ insisted Kennedy. “But we’ve all got to play together. You’re always looking for more players.“

Outside the pitch

As a member of the health cluster at NCT, Weissman maintains a lofty 4.0 unweighted and 4.3 weighted grade point average.

She pointed out that when she’s at home, she’s concentrating on her homework.

Weissman says when she’s not on the pitch, “I’m not worried about reaching personal goals. For me, it’s all about winning team championships.”

By the Numbers: Nature Coast Technical’s

Kennedy Weissman (2018-19)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Kennedy Weissman

DATE.

SCH

G

A

TP

11-14

WW

1

0

2

11-28

WC

1

0

2

12-03

GF

3

0

6

12-05

SPG

0

2

2

12-07

PAS

2

0

4

12-10

WW

2

3

7

12-12

HER

0

0

0

12-17

ZHS

2

1

5

12-18

HUD

0

2

2

01-07

LOL

1

1

3

01-09

BC

3

3

9

01-11

ANC

5

0

10

01-14

SPG

1

3

5

01-15

WC

0

0

0

01-18

CR

3

0

6

01-22

CEN

4

2

10

01-23

SS

3

0

6

01-25

ZHS

1

3

5

01-29

WW

1

1

3

01-31

WC

0

0

0

02-05

RR

1

0

2

-21-

TOT

34

21

89

 

 

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