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    Cheerleaders head for nationals


    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001

    The flyweight division of the East Lake Eagles Cheerleaders is jumping for joy. The squad recently won the Florida state championship at the Florida State Fair in Hillsborough County.

    The group of 20 girls, ages 7 to 9, practice about three times a week at the Upper Pinellas Youth Sports Complex off Keystone Road.

    This is not the first win for the team.

    Last November, the team took first place at the Saint Leo College Cheer Off, which qualified it for the Super Cheer Off competition. The Eagles won that event also. Then in December, the team went to Tampa to compete in the Cheer Blast tournament, where again it took first place.

    "The girls have great personalities and love to perform," said head coach Tracy Fratus. "They do a lot of difficult stunts for their age level."

    She said their stunts included a "twist down," where a child is tossed into the air and twists on her way down before being caught by a team member. The team also builds a complicated pyramid formation while other team members tumble.

    Now the cheerleaders are practicing for their next competition: the nationals, which will be at the University of South Florida in March.

    The cheerleaders are Alexandria Barrett, Brittany DiIorio, Erin Fagen, Tori Foster, Kayla Fratus, Alexandra Laessig, Kelli McKenna, Erin Miller, Maggie Neilson, Bethany Odekirk, Kathryn Pearson, Stephanie Penning, Carly Settel, Rachel Smith, Maddisen Vahl, Laura Vonch, Elaina Wegelin, Krista West, Lauren West and Erin Williams.

    Students honored at brunch

    Fourteen students from East Lake High School were honored for their exemplary attitudes, service, commitment, behavior and citizenship last week.

    During the Principal's Brunch on Thursday, the students and their parents enjoyed a brunch prepared by the school's family and consumer science department. They also were treated to music by the school's Chamber Winds ensemble under the direction of Dave Carbone. The brunch was sponsored by the Oldsmar/East Lake Rotary Club.

    The students, who were selected by faculty members, are Michael Andrews, Michael Bacher, Adam Feldman, Marlena Gannon, Natalie Gross, Kyle Johnson, Erin Meagher, Ryan Merryman, Amanda Mullins, Lindsey Palmer, Michelle Roach, Jamie Selzer, Fachel Thibault, and Hunter West.

    This is the second brunch for the 2000-2001 school year in which students were honored by principal Rick Misenti. At the end of the year, the Florida Bank of Commerce will provide two $1,000 scholarships to two senior students chosen from those honored at the brunches. A $500 scholarship will be provided by the East Lake 2001 organization.

    - Starting Monday, if you have news or photos about East Lake schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, contact Julie Church at the North Pinellas Times. You can call her at (727) 445-4229, e-mail material to her at or mail material to her at the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.

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