Resiliency of a champion

Sharks defeat rival Panthers for back-to-back district titles


The Ponte Vedra Sharks are district champions once again after defeating the rival Nease Panthers 9-6 in a hard-fought victory.

“It means a lot to keep it going and get the back-to-back district championships,” senior Luke Lowery said.

The Sharks grabbed the lead early and never trailed in the game, including leading 6-2 at the halftime break, which showed a lot of resilience, especially since they were down a couple of players due to flu-related symptoms.

It resulted in increased minutes for certain players and the depth of the Sharks’ roster really showcased itself en route to the win.

“We knew our end goal since the beginning of the season, and it’s all about taking that one step at a time,” senior Brett Reed said.

However, the Panthers also displayed resilience of their own and went on a three-goal run to cut the deficit to one goal during the third quarter before the Sharks found their groove yet again and opened their lead back up.

Head coach Chris Polanski, relayed to his team after the game that it was perhaps the best game they had played all season, especially when it came to the consistent chances on the offensive end.

While the offense did its part to put points on the scoreboard, junior Jack Pelot did his part to stop his share of shots on the night and was rewarded with the game ball by his teammates for his stellar play.

“I’ve got to give credit to the defense for sure, because they were giving me shots I wanted to see and really helped make my job easier,” Pelot said. “There was just something in the air tonight, and as soon I walked out on the field tonight I wanted to take home a championship.”

He has been playing in goal since he was six years old, and he has been around the program for a long time and has dreamt of playing on the big stage like the district championship.

“I remember a couple of years ago we were water boys out here, and I always remember coming out and watching practice of the high schoolers and thinking ‘man I want to be like that one day,’” Pelot said. “Before you know it, now it’s here and it’s pretty awesome.”

The Sharks and the Panthers know each other well and it always has a different feeling whenever the two teams take the field against each other.

“Every time we play them we know they’re going to give us a fight,” Lowery said.

There were even a pair of brothers who played against each other on the night in Nease senior Jaxon Vu and freshman Baylor Vu.

Both teams already secured a spot in the postseason with the appearance in the district championship game, as the Panthers earned a runner-up finish with the loss.

“We’ve got two more trophies to win,” Lowery said.

Ponte Vedra Sharks, boys lacrosse, district title