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
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
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
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
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, LINK
Crew, and National Honor Society. 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
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