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    Several area gymnasts preparing for regionals

    By NANCY MORGAN
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 22, 2003

    When the results of the Girls State Championships were complete, 12 area gymnasts had qualified for regional competition in Level 9 and five in Level 10.

    The Apollo School of Gymnastics in Clearwater had one Level 9 member advance. The Tampa Bay Turners in St.Petersburg qualified seven in that division and two in Level 10. LaFleur's of Largo advanced four in Level 9 and three in Level 10.

    Apollo's Jacqueline Higueros qualified after placing eighth on balance beam and in floor exercise at state.

    "This is my first year in Level 9, and I really didn't compete during Level 8 last year," said Higueros, 13. "Last year, I had a back injury, and since I started coming back, my goal was to make regionals."

    LaFleur's advanced Lindsey King, Alyssa Wright and Elizabeth Hermann in Level 10 and Natalie Garcia, Jenifer Voynovich and Briana Melander in Level 9. Danielle Carey, who was unable to compete, will be petitioned in for the regional.

    "We're really proud of the girls, and especially our Level 10s," LaFleur's coach/co-owner Melody LaFleur said. "This is their first year in Level 10."

    Four Turners claimed 10 state titles, including three all-around championships and seven individual event awards.

    "We had a good competition," Tampa Bay coach Mary Linnemeyer said. "This week we're going a little softer in practice, and we'll pick it up the next two leading up to regionals."

    The Turners' all-around champs were Kaylene Sattanno (Level 10) and Alyssa Harmon and Jenny Citrin (Level 9). Event winners were Sattanno (uneven bars, balance beam), Level 10; Lauren Jones (beam), Citrin (vault, beam, floor) and Harmon (vault), Level 9.

    Other Turners who qualified for regionals were Jessica Beckman (Level 10) and Level 9's Lisa Taylor, Brittany Hunt, Brianne McKeon and Jones.

    The regional competition is April 3-6 in Birmingham, Ala.

    MORE GYMNASTICS: In the Third AAU Qualifier in Lakeland, Apollo's Lucia Russo captured the Level 4 second-place all-around award. Alex Rosenbaum, Kathryn Stacy and Monique Oliver finished third, and Carrie Anderson was fourth.

    The Gasparilla Classic included girls from LaFleur's of Largo, Bayside Gymnastics, Gemini and Apollo. LaFleur's all-around champions were Stephanie Young and Jamie Applefield (Level 8) and Aspen Sands, Sarena Bumbarge and Danielle Kazakos (Level 7). Bayside had six members in the top eight all-around in Level 8 and two in Level 7. Gemini produced all-around champions in Amy and Joelle Ferguson (Level 8). Apollo's Laura Piehl was second and Chelsea Hawkey fourth in Level 7. In boys action, Apollo's Travis Lombardi was first all-around in Class 7, and Alec Davis, Nuri Halef and Jessee Scott were second in their respective classes.

    Gemini recently competed in Denver. Lauryn Kannard and Sarah Zoldos won Level 6 all-around, as did Kaleigh Dickson (Level 8) and Toni Burney (Level 9). Gemini won the Level 6 and 8 titles and was third in Level 9.

    SWIMMING: Clearwater Aquatic Team's Clay Bullock won six events and Jose Crescimbeni topped three in the Florida Swimming Junior Olympic Championships in Orlando. Bullock was the 13-14 high-point champion, and Crescimbeni contributed to the 11-12 high-point award. Matthew Thompson of West Florida Lightning Aquatic racked up five victories in the 10-and-under division, and Christine Thompson was third in three in 13-14. Tampa Bay Aquatic's Chelsea Nauta won five and was second in two in 13-14. CAT's Whitney Roper was third in the 13-14 girls 200 breaststroke, and James Taddeo was second in two events and third in two in 11-12.

    CAT was second overall in the Florida Swimming Short Course Senior Championships, first in girls competition and second in boys. Tampa Bay Aquatics was fourth overall, and St.Petersburg Aquatics took fifth. Caitlin Warner led the CAT girls in the 15-16 class. Bullock, Craig Coghlan, Grant Johnson and Jay Carpenter sparked the senior boys. TBAY's Nauta, 14, was the senior high-point winner and swam with her sister, Brittany, Jessica Lampkin and Jessica Deng to win two relays.

    CAT claimed high-point honors in the Last Chance JO Qualifier on the efforts of Candace Thornburg (13-14), Crescimbeni (11-12), Wes Stearns (10-and-under) and Bullock (senior). Kaitlin Frehling (SPA) was the 10-and-under high-point winner, as was SPA's Megan Romano (11-12) and WFLA's Katie Metka (senior).

    SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: In the Drew Medical Invitational in Orlando, Suncoast WaterWorks members produced 9 first-, 5 second- and 5 third-place finishes. Suncoast had almost 40 top-10 placements. Gold medals were won in the advanced division by the 9-and-under team (Jennifer Aguero, Sarah Cooke, Kimberly Goyack, Sarah Ruggio and Samantha Zohn), 9-and-under trio (Cooke, Goyack and Zohn), 11-and-under duet (Jenna Lee and Logan Worley), 12-13 solo and figures (Keeley Lawner) and 11-and-under figures (Lee). The 12-13 intermediate squad (Alicia Hartman, Emily Minteer, Katherine Alexander, Sarah Vernick, Katie Nisbet, Catlin Tarasi and Corrine Sarvis) finished first, along with 12-13 intermediate figures (Lucy Benneck) and 16-17 intermediate trio (Rylie Burns, Casey Miller and Jeanine O'Connell). Seconds were compiled by the advanced 12-13 squad (Worley, Lee, Alexis Sidoff, Laurie Goyack, Elise Foreit and Gabrielle Lewis), 12-13 intermediate figures (Jeanine O'Connell), 9-and-under intermediate duet (Marissa Foreit and Alicia Hartman), 10-11 intermediate trio (Nisbet, Kristen Porter and Tarasi) and 9-and-under novice duet (Nicole Morrill and Megan Porter). The 12-13 advanced trio (Elisa Foreit, Laurie Goyack and Lewis), 16-17 intermediate firgures (Casey Miller), 10-11 intermediate trio (Minteer, Alexander and Sarah Vernick), 10-11 novice trio (Kayla Bell, Merina Casa and Kelsey Taliaferro) and 12-13 novice team (Bell, Casa, Krystal LeWarne, Nicole Morrill, Porter and Taliaferro) placed third overall.

    TRAMPOLINE & TUMBLING: The Just Tumblin' trampoline team, coached by Homer Sardina, placed three athletes in the top four in the First State Qualifier in Naples. Victor Valenty captured first in Level 8, 13-14 division; Justin Bedell took second, Level 10, 17-and-older; and Jordann Windschauer was fourth, Level 8, 13-14 girls.

    GIRLS BASKETBALL: Dunedin Middle School's team, coached by Elsa Heintz, finished 12-0.

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