FHSAA Announces 2019-2020 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

Gainesville, FL. (September 9, 2019) - The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has announced the new members of the 2019-2020 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). This year, the FHSAA will be welcoming in 10 new students into the committee, along with six returning members.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was established in 2008 to give students the opportunity to promote a positive image for student-athletes along with sharing their perspective on FHSAA rules, regulations and special initiatives.

This year, the Association received over 40 applications from students across Florida. These members were chosen based on their sports participation, extracurriculars, essay, and leadership skills. 

The SAAC committee will meet twice to discuss their issues and concerns. They will meet at FHSAA headquarters located in Gainesville, FL. The first meeting will be held on October 11, 2019 and the second will be on March 9, 2020.

The following FHSAA student-athletes represent the 2019-2020 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee:

Flynn Baliton, Father Lopez Catholic High School (Daytona Beach) - A junior three-sport athlete, Flynn participates in competitive cheerleading, weightlifting, and track and field at her school. She serves as an Officer for her school’s Ambassadors Program and is also involved in Student Government and Mu Alpha Theta. Flynn is a member of the Chick-Fil-A Leaders Association, Hippocratic Society, and Dominican Republic Mission Team in her community as well. Her goal for the SAAC is to help student-athletes make connections with each other through their common love of sport.

Connor Bishop, Citrus High School (Inverness) - Connor will be returning to the SAAC as a senior and plays football, baseball, and track and field. He is heavily involved in Key Club, Superintendent's Advisory Council, Student Government, National Honor Society, and Citrus County Teen Town Hall Leader. In his community, he serves as a volunteer for the Citrus County Historical Society, Citrus County Schools New Teacher Orientation program, the Link Crew and the Citrus Storm baseball program. Connor’s goal for the SAAC is to protect and improve Florida's athletic programs.

Nnamdi Edeoga, Charlotte High School (Punta Gorda) - Nnamdi comes to the SAAC as a junior basketball player. He is active in Student Government, Student Tutoring, and Hurricane Relief Group. Outside of school, Nnamdi coaches for Tiny Tarpon Basketball, volunteers for his church, and has conducted a toy drive for Christmas. Nnamdi’s goal for the SAAC is to help student-athletes navigate through the college recruiting process.

Maizie Egan, Marathon High School - Maizie is going into her senior year as a returning SAAC member and three-sport athlete. She is involved in her school’s cross country, track and field and weightlifting teams. Outside of sports, she manages her time with many activities such as the Academic Challenge Team, Interact Rotary Club and National Honor Society. She is also an altar server for the San Pablo Catholic Church and a classroom assistant for Bright Lights Summer Learning Adventures. Maizie’s goal for the SAAC is to be a support system for student-athletes when they become overwhelmed.

Jackson Grieser, Gainesville High School - Jackson is a rising junior in his school’s swimming & diving and water polo programs. He participates in Student Government and Young Democrats at his school as well.  Jackson also volunteers for UF Health Shands Hospital and coaches for Special Olympics of Alachua County. Jackson’s goal for the SAAC is to promote time management for student-athletes juggling athletics and academics.

Jennifer Jacoby, Cape Coral High School - As a junior three-sport athlete, Jennifer competes on her school’s volleyball, cross country, and track and field teams. In addition to athletics, Jennifer also serves as the Editor of her school’s newspaper and participates in Model United Nations, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Fashion Club. Outside of the classroom, Jennifer volunteers at the Fort Myers Imaginarium as a camp counselor. Her goal for the SAAC is to make sure the playing field is fair, safe, and updated for all sports in the FHSAA.

Zachariah John, Florida Atlantic University School (Boca Raton) - Zachariah is a junior runner for his school’s cross country and track & field teams. Always looking out for his fellow students, Zachariah acts as an AP Tutor and Orientation Leader for his school. He is also a budding doctor, volunteering for Bethesda Hospital East and being part of the American Medical Student Association. Zachariah currently serves on his school’s Student-Athlete Leadership Team and has a goal of promoting mental health for student-athletes in Florida through his membership on the SAAC.

JaNelle Morant, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School (Gainesville) - A Gainesville local, Janelle is returning to the SAAC as a senior. She is a three-sport athlete, participating in basketball, track and field, and cheerleading. JaNelle is part of the Black Student Union, National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions.  In her community, JaNelle has been a loyal member of 4-H the past ten years and served as an officer for the past four. JaNelle's goal for SAAC is to be a positive role model for student-athletes in Florida.

Brandon Perez, Leonard High School (Greenacres) - Brandon is a senior and returning SAAC member this year. Participating on his school's varsity cross country and track and field teams, Brandon believes in hard work and being a team player. He shows his leadership skills by volunteering at the Okeeheelee Nature Center and the Pine Jog Summer Camp. Brandon's goal for the SAAC this year is to be a voice for fellow student-athletes in Florida. 

Drew Petrella, Trinity Catholic High School (Ocala) - A rising sophomore, Drew is a basketball player as well as a cross country and track & field runner for his school. He participates in Academic Club at his school and volunteers at St. John Paul II Catholic School, in his free time. Drew’s goal for the SAAC is to remind student-athletes that it is important to balance sports with academics and personal time and to always set goals for themselves.

Rachel Pyros, Hagerty High School (Oviedo) - Rachel is a senior that plays during all three sports seasons at her school, participating in cross country, soccer, and track & field. She is not only a leader on the field, but in her community as well. Rachel serves as the Treasurer of her school’s Science National Honor Society as well as the Co-President of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also a member of National Honor Society and is involved in Refuge. Rachel’s goal for the SAAC is to promote safety, teamwork, and sportsmanship in Florida high school athletics.

Akelah Reeves, Pensacola High School - Akelah, a junior, participates in volleyball and track & field at her school. She is also involved in Key Club and National Honor Society. Akelah is dedicated to her church, as she is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and conducts service projects growing food for low-income neighborhoods in her area. Akelah’s goal for the SAAC is to act as a voice for student-athletes who want to make positive changes in the athletic community.

Mason Romero, Ponte Vedra High School – Mason is a junior football player for his school. Off the field, Mason is involved in the Biotechnology & Medical Research Academy, and National Honor Society. He founded a club called "Sharks for Heroes," which supports local military and first responders.  Mason is also a very active member of his community. He spends his time outside the classroom doing service work for the USO Mayport, caring for service dogs at K9s for Warriors, and preparing lunch for veterans at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3270. Mason’s goal for the SAAC is to support initiatives that help grow the Florida high school sports community.

Sam Simmons, Armwood High School (Seffner) – As a junior, Sam has been playing baseball for his school for three years. He is active in Student Government and DECA Competitive Team and plays travel baseball for GameTime Prospects. Sam also serves as a camp counselor every summer for the YMCA helping young children complete service projects. Sam’s goal for the SAAC is to help student-athletes who are struggling academically by promoting studying initiatives.

Maia Smith, Newsome High School (Lithia) - A returning SAAC member, Maia brings a lot to the committee as a four-year varsity girls basketball player. She is involved in the Speech and Debate team as captain, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society as Treasurer, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, plays percussion in the Tampa Music School, and is a teacher at the Rivers of Life Ministries. Her goal for the SAAC is to promote positive change in the perceptions of student-athletes.

Jordan Vital, Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale) - Jordan is returning to the SAAC as a senior lacrosse player. She shows excellent leadership skills as she serves as the head student representative for the KIVA Club at her school. Jordan is also involved in the Jack and Jill Club Organization, National Honor Society, and the Girl Up Organization. Her goal for the SAAC this year is to promote positive sportsmanlike behavior for student-athletes.