ORANGE PARK, Fla. – It is a good time to be a St. Johns Country Day soccer fan.
This week, both the boys and girls teams will be playing in DeLand in state championship games.
The Spartans boys are in the state championship game for the first time. They play on Thursday at 4 p.m.
The girls are seeking their state-record upping 10th consecutive championship. They kick things off on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Both teams are playing Canterbury out of Fort Myers.
“It doesn’t happen often and it is even more ironic that we are playing the same team,” said boys coach Brad Schmidt.
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Girls coach Mike Pickett has built a soccer dynasty at St. Johns, but he’s a former Spartans soccer player and was on the 1981 and ’83 state championship teams when it played in the now-defunct fall soccer series.
“Being an alumni of the program and playing back in the ’80′s when we had fall soccer, and being a part of two state championships and seeing our boys get there in their first trip as a winter program is really exciting,” Pickett said. “I’m going to be the first one through the gate on Thursday.”
Both teams could make their own slice of history this week.
Under the current winter sports format, St. Johns Country Day has never won a boys soccer state championship.
“A lot of these boys I have had since eighth grade so it is nice to see them have a chance to get one their senior and junior year,” Schmidt said. “But I have had these guys for a long time. I would like to see them go out on top.”
The girls are on pace to be the greatest dynasty in state history. St. Johns has 12 state championships in program history and is quickly catching up to state leader St. Thomas Aquinas’ 15 titles. The Spartans’ nine consecutive state titles are already a record.
“This is going to sound cliché but we take it one game at a time,” Pickett said. “We don’t look ahead.”