Silver Chargers test their talent outside of state

Published March 19, 2006

Before this soccer season, members of the Clearwater Chargers' under-13 Silver team were content playing in local- and state-level tournaments.

This year, coach Siggi Nagele, director of the Chargers' girls program and a former head women's coach at Eckerd College, felt it was time to ratchet up the competition level.

Nagele's instincts were correct.

Playing among regionally ranked teams, the U-13 team held its own and more, winning the platinum-level Vulcan Cup on March 11-12 in Birmingham, Ala.

"In the past, we've always stayed local and played in local tournaments, but this year we've been pretty aggressive with our scheduling," said Nagele, whose team edged the Atlanta Silverbacks Elite 4-2 on penalty kicks for a 2-1 title-game victory. "We've already been to Raleigh, and we're going to San Diego in July.

"I've raised the quality of teams we're playing, and the girls have responded really well."

In their three victories leading up the championship, the U-13 Silver Chargers did not allow a goal, notching shutout wins against Bayern Munich of Brentwood, Tenn., the Atlanta Lightning and the Concorde Fire Elite, an Atlanta team ranked No. 21 regionally.

The Chargers triumphed in the final when goalkeeper Bryane Haeberlin stopped two penalty kicks, and teammates Jennifer Marzi, Katie Pedersen, Dana Leroque and Marina Kelley all converted.

Other team members included Torey Camporini, Alyee Gilbert, Jensen Eifert, Julie Murphy, Tanya Bawkins, Victoria Raissi, Michelle Primiani, Erin Cole, Morgan Parker, Renae Bartol, Tori Bolyard and Lizzie McNamara.

GYMNASTICS: Competing in the Florida State Championships in Coral Springs, LaFleur's of Largo saw all of its athletes in Levels 8-10 qualify for region competition.

In Level 8, Amanda Oliveira won the beam and floor to capture an all-around title. Taylor Sides (vault, floor) and Megan VonStetina (floor) also won state titles. In Level 9 competition, Dallia Lemezan placed in the floor exercise.

LaFleur's Level 8 athletes will travel to Huntsville, Ala., for regionals; the Level 9 and 10 gymnasts will compete in Marietta, Ga.

Lauryn Kannard, representing Oldsmar's Victory Gymnastic Training Center, won three disciplines - the vault, bars and floor - en route to a Level 8 all-around state championship.

Teammates Falon Canham (second-place all-around) and Sarah Zoldos (first-place vault, bars) also fared well, advancing to region competition. In Level 10, Alyssa Wright finished sixth overall, while Kaleigh Dickson was ninth in Level 9 to move on to regionals.

Kannard's fifth-place overall finish among 202 competitors earned her a spot on Team Florida, which will perform against seven states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) at the Region 8 team meet.

IN-LINE SKATING: The City of Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department will host an all-ages in-line contest on March 26 at the Ross Norton Recreation and Aquatics Complex in Clearwater.

Competition will take place from noon to 6 p.m. at the complex's extreme sports park, and all ages and ability levels are encouraged to participate. Contact the department at (727) 462-6025.

YOUTH FOOTBALL: Early registration for the upcoming Pinellas Park Thunderbirds football and cheerleading season will be held March 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Davis Field Complex.

Athletes will need two photographs, a copy of their birth certificate and the proper registration fee - $80 for football, $65 for cheerleading and $50 for flag football. Athletes must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Kickoff for the season is July 17.

For information, contact Kevin Clark (football) at 804-1055, Kris Klinesmith (cheerleading) at 545-4208, Ed Keppel (flag football) at 638-4576 or Maria Elkin (flag football cheerleading) at 422-1996. For all other information, contact the main office at 541-4292.

TRACK AND FIELD: The Running Soles community club will host its second annual invitational Apri 29 at St. Petersburg High. For more information, contact Charlotte Johnson at 507-6096 or 867-5259.

Emery Skolfield can be reached at 727 490-7618 or sptimesyouth@yahoo.com