CAT takes 11 crowns in state event

Published March 4, 2007

In what coach Mike Yearwood called "one of the greatest meets he has been a part of in 31 years of coaching," the Clearwater Aquatic Team captured 11 individual state titles and placed third overall at the Florida Spring Junior Olympic Championships.

Taylor Katz, 12, highlighted CAT's performance, winning two events (200-yard individual medley, 100 butterfly) to capture high-point honors in the 11-12 girls division with 105 total points. Her time of 59.55 seconds in the 100 fly was 0.8 seconds behind the state Junior Olympic record set in 1985.

The Junior Olympic meet, open to swimmers ages 7-14, was held Feb. 22-25 at the University of Florida's O'Connell Center.

CAT totaled 1,276.5 points and finished behind champion Sarasota YMCA Sharks and runnerup Bolles School Sharks of Jacksonville. St. Petersburg Aquatics placed 11th overall, while West Florida Lightning Aquatics of Largo was 15th among 51 teams.

CAT's Alex Katz won four events (50 and 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, 200 IM) and was high-point runnerup in the 10-under boys division. Teammate Wes Stearns finished runnerup among 13-14 boys after winning three events - the 100 butterfly, 200 backstroke and 200 IM. Stearns' time in the 200 backstroke (1:54.27) qualified him for Junior Nationals.

Other individual champions for CAT were: 9-year-old Sydney Pickrem, who won the 10-under girls 50 breaststroke, and Mark Marshburn (10-under boys), who was state champion in the 100 breaststroke.

Marshburn was a member, along with Alex Katz, Taylor Uselis and Jake Morgan, of two winning relay teams - the 200 medley and 200 freestyle.

St. Petersburg Aquatics' Summer Finke was high-point winner in the 10-under girls, winning six events (100, 200 and 500 freestyle, 50 and 100 backstroke, 100 IM). Her time of 1:05.69 in the 100 backstroke bettered the state Junior Olympic record by nearly a full second.

- Competing against a field that included 21 Olympians, St. Petersburg Aquatics had a total of six top-10 finishes at the Missouri Grand Prix meet Feb. 16-19 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Megan Romano, 16, finished with four top-10 finishes, placing seventh in the 100-meter freestyle and 200 backstroke, eighth in the 100 backstroke and 10th in the 200 freestyle. Teammate Tracy Rorer placed eighth in the 200 breaststroke and ninth in the 100.

GYMNASTICS: Sarena Bumbarger won two events (bars and floor) and tied teammate Kaley LaFleur for a Level 10 age group all-around title for LaFleur's Gymnastics Club (Largo) at the Presidential Classic Feb. 17-18 in Fort Lauderdale.

In Level 7, Rebecca Wunderlich captured her all-around title with a victory on the beam and an aggregate score of 38.075 - just ahead of teammate Caitlin Tarr. Nikki Wiseman also won her age division all-around.

LaFleur's Casonda Bickler won the all-around in Prep-Opt.

If you have youth sports news, contact Times correspondent Emery Skolfield at (727) 481-2027 or e-mail sptimesyouth@yahoo.com.