Academy at the Lakes rolls over Land O’Lakes

Posted on: November 23rd, 2015

Original article by Andy Warrener, Tampa Bay Times LAND O’LAKES — A pair of state semifinalists squared off Thursday night. Class 2A’s Academy at the Lakes returned six of their eight total players. The Gators moved up to Class 6A this season and graduated leading scorer Jhade Hayes. It took less than two minutes for the […]

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HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball players to watch

Posted on: November 12th, 2015

Original article by Kelly Parsons and Rodney Page, Times Staff Writers … Imani Thomas, Jr., F, Academy at the Lakes: There are several talented players for the Wildcats, but Thomas may be the most well-rounded. She averaged 15.1 points and 13.3 rebounds as a sophomore in 28 games. Read more

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Smith ’21 Qualifies for Swimming State Championships

Posted on: November 5th, 2015

Academy at the Lakes 7th grader McKenna Smith has qualified to compete in the FHSAA 1A State Swimming Championships. McKenna finished 5th at regionals in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.14 and is seeded 22nd in the state meet. The state meet will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 in Stuart, Fla. This […]

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Wildcats Varsity Volleyball Team Headed to Regionals

Posted on: October 23rd, 2015

For the first time in school history, Academy at the Lakes’ Volleyball team has advanced to Regionals. The Wildcats will play on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7:00pm at City of Life. If the Wildcats win, they will advance to play the Tampa Bay HEAT in Brandon on Saturday, Oct. 31. The team is 22-5 overall […]

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Teacher Feature: Coach Tom Haslam

Posted on: October 22nd, 2015

Teacher Feature: Coach Haslam

As leaders in sports often are, Academy at the Lakes’ Athletic Director and Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Tom Haslam is humble when speaking about the success of the Wildcats’ athletic program. But it isn’t a coincidence that the program has been steadily growing and shining since the day Coach Haslam became a part of the Academy community.

It is hard to believe that Coach Haslam’s dream wasn’t always to work in athletics or at least be a basketball coach. In fact, he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to do when he was in high school and even college.

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Academy at the Lakes reaches new highs in volleyball

Posted on: October 9th, 2015

Original Article posted on The Laker/Lutz News  Written by Michael Murillo   When Academy at the Lakes volleyball coach Brian Gonzales came to the school four years ago, he had never suffered a losing season coaching at any school or club level. The Wildcats, on the other hand, never had much success on the court. […]

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HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings, Week 4

Posted on: September 16th, 2015

Original Article by: Kelly Parsons and Rodney Page via … 12. Academy at the Lakes (10-2) This week: Tuesday vs. Citrus Park Christian, Wednesday vs. Universal Academy, Thursday vs. Foundation Christian Scoop: The Wildcats dropped their first two matches of the season last weekend at the Bishop McLaughlin tournament, but they weren’t bad losses. […]

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Academy Claims Carey E. McDonald Award as Florida’s Top 2A Private School Athletic Program

Posted on: August 27th, 2015

Academy at the Lakes was recently honored as Florida’s top 2A private school athletic program during the 2014-15 school year, receiving the prestigious Carey E. McDonald Award for the first time in school history. The award winner is determined based on the season results of 20 different teams. During the 2014-15 school year, Academy had […]

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American football suits former Academy at the Lakes player from Russia

Posted on: July 25th, 2015

LAND O’ LAKES — The American Dream is what most immigrants are looking for when they move to the United States.

A chance at a better life.

For former Academy at the Lakes defensive end Max Stepanets, who graduated this past spring, a move from Russia to America was just the opportunity he needed to escape from living in poverty and create opportunities for himself and his family.

In the fall of 2007, Eric Wilson, who is currently Stepanets’ guardian, met Max — along with six other boys from Russia — after he was hired as part of a charity group from South Florida to be their house parent. Taking them in, Wilson grew close with each of them, but budget cuts in 2008 shut down the program, leaving Wilson with the task of having to return the boys to Russia while breaking the bad news to their respective families.

Wilson set out to find a solution for bringing the boys back to the U.S., and with the help of a few friends, he founded the RenProject. Stepanets was one of three students offered the opportunity to return to America, and Wilson and the charity identified Academy at the Lakes as the home school for the boys.

Upon their return, Wilson noticed almost immediately was the interest Stepanets for the game of American football. From the moment he picked up a football, it seemed Stepanets and the game were a perfect match.

“I don’t know what it was,” Wilson said. “Besides maybe watching my Colts play, I don’t know what gravitated him to football. He was just determined to really play football. He works really hard at it every day. The first thing I did was I put him in the i-9 type leagues so he could get used to the rules of football.”

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AATL programs find right combination

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015

Tribune correspondent
Published: June 18, 2015

When Academy at the Lakes girls basketball coach Karim Nohra arrived at the school in 2011, the Wildcats were not a perennial power in any sport other than six-man football, which won a state championship in 2006.

Since 2011, the mantra for AATL athletics has been simple: Do well in the classroom and on the field. With those values, it has provided the Wildcats with a steady diet of great student-athletes whom, throughout the past few years and the 2014-15 school year, saw Academy at the Lakes’ most successful athletics run in the private school’s short history.

“It’s all kind of built up,” athletic director Tom Haslam said. “It is no overnight change, though, but success lately has come fairly quickly. You look at my program, the boys basketball team. We’ve been fairly decent, but this year everything kind of came into place. We had talent and senior leadership. It all came into place and got us to the final four.

“It has come fairly quickly and this year kind of culminated for our athletic program.”


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