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State tournament to be in Clearwater

By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 4, 2003

Clearwater High will host the inaugural state flag football championship tournament May 23-24, the Florida High School Activities Association announced last week.

It will be the first FHSAA state tournament in Pinellas County since wrestling was held at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center in 1998.

"We put in a bid, and the FHSAA came out for an on-site visit," Clearwater athletic coordinator Kathy Biddle said. "They liked our facilities and our location. We're excited to host it."

County athletic director Bob Hosack assisted Countryside in its bid to host the tournament. Clearwater's selection was news to him.

"I wasn't aware of that," Hosack said. "As long as it's in Pinellas County, that's all I care about. (Pinellas County) was the first to have it in the state, so we only thought it would be appropriate to have the state tournament here."

Flag football became a recognized sport by the FHSAA in June 2001. This season, 92 schools will field teams. All schools are in one classification. For a sport to be eligible for a state tournament, at least 48 schools must participate.

The flag football tournament will coincide with the state baseball tournament at Legends Field in Tampa.

The first day of flag football practice is March 17, and games begin April 7.

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