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Many squads get a kick out of being in State Cup


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 20, 2001

The cream has risen to the top in soccer. Several local teams are among Florida's best.

After various rounds of elimination play in seven age groups for boys and girls, the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) has determined the final four squads in each for the State Cup next month.

In girls competition are the Countryside Lightning under-13, St. Pete Raiders under-14, Largo Wolves under-16 and Clearwater Chargers under-18 teams.

The Raiders, ranked fourth in the state before last week's FYSA competition, were 10-2 in the regular season and traveled throughout Florida to face new competition.

"The team agreed that to best prepare for this year's State Cup, we should travel during the regular season to play some of those teams we would meet later," said Cliff Cook, St. Pete's coach. "We kept things in balance, though, and mixed soccer, social life and fun. I think that helped build good team chemistry."

Last year was the Raiders' first trip to state. Their under-13 girls qualified.

To do well this season, the organization plans to be patient and confident. "Last year's experience is a great motivator for us," Cook said. "Having lost in a semifinal on a goal scored with just eight minutes left after playing well was very disappointing. We are prepared to play it to the end this time."

The Raiders will face Palm Beach United in a semifinal. The Renegades, last year's under-13 champions, play CFU Phoenix.

Among the boys Cup teams are Strictly Soccer under-13, Dunedin Stirling under-14, Largo under-16 and Clearwater under-18 and under-19.

Strictly Soccer continues to defy logic. It played past tough challengers in its final round to earn a state berth. The St. Petersburg team was led offensively by Brian Shriver, Chad Burt and Luis Bairos.

"We've been the favored team, but it's been a rough road," said Hans Burt, Strictly Soccer's coach. "This is a well-groomed and well-coached team that is very intense."

Spencer Gray, Eric Chanthanasinh, Justin Castellano and Andrew Phillips were standouts defensively and will be relied on in a semifinal with Brandon. A victory will put Strictly Soccer in the title game against the Coral Springs-Carrollwood semifinal winner. The State Cup is scheduled for June 1-3 at Weston Regional Park in Weston.

GYMNASTICS: The Tampa Bay Turners' Summer Hubbard, Lauren Bernloehr, Margaret Dann and Lauren Companioni competed on winning teams in the Level 10 National Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Hubbard scored a 36.9 overall to help the Junior A squad win its competition. Bernloehr posted a 36.675 in Junior D action and Dann a 37.125 and Companioni a 36.925 in Senior D. Bernloehr placed seventh on balance beam, and Dann was ninth. Companioni took fourth on beam and sixth on uneven bars.

Tampa Bay's Jessica Beckman earned sixth on beam, and Terin Martinjak was fourth on bars.

LaFleur's of Largo member Lesley Valenty turned in a ninth-place performance on the vault. She competed on the Region C squad that finished second overall.

This weekend, LaFleur's Level 9 athletes Whitney Eberhardt, Elizabeth Herrmann and Erin Godin and the Turners' Chelsea Lau and Kaylene Sattanno are in Baltimore for the Level National Championships.

Eight Medalist All-Star gymnasts qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics National Championships in Hampton Roads, Va., with performances in tryouts in Port Charlotte earlier this month.

In Level 9 tryouts, Briana Stiles was fourth all-around and earned a spot on the Team Florida B squad. Melissa Perkins was fourth all-around, is a Team Florida alternate and will compete at nationals as an all-star.

Other Team Florida members are Jeniece Rahn and Ryann Matthews. Qualifiers who will compete as all-stars are Stacey Ostlund (sixth all-around), Amanda Crane (fifth), Claire Ferrari (seventh) and Andrea Bairam (seventh). Marissa Bragg was sixth all-around in tryouts.

Stiles, Perkins, Ferrari, Ostlund, Crane, Bragg, Matthews, Bairam, Rahn, Tirzah Bailey, Kimberly and Tina Jacob will compete in the USAIGC Nationals in June at the Grenelefe Resort in Haines City.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: Suncoast WaterWorks members competed among 200 swimmers in the Regional Synchronized Swimming Championship in Savannah, Ga., earlier this month.

Suncoast captured four first-place awards and five seconds.

Nichole Lee won the solo competition in the division for 12-13-year-olds and teamed with Abbie Zohn to capture the 12-13 duet title.

The 12-13 squad of Kendall Carey, Stacey Davidson, Bethan Gillett, Keeley Lawner, Samara Rutenburg and Zohn finished first. So did the 14-15 team of Darcee Kingsley, Andrea Patterson, Rachel Rooth, Caitlin Carey and Lee.

Seconds were earned by trio teams Kingsley, Patterson and Rooth in 14-15 and Jennifer Amsinger, Nondi Garrett and Crystal Amsinger in 18-19. Lawner was second in 11-and-under solo. Other runner-up performances were recorded by the 11-and-under squad of Lilly Althauser, Jessica Bennett, Taylor Koon, Jenna Lee and Logan Worley and the 18-19 unit of Jennifer and Crystal Amsinger, Dana Rosenfeld, Garrett, Jamie Freshour, Meredith Cooke and Rachael Farkash.

Suncoast earned two third-place awards, as well as a fourth, fifth and sixth.

The annual Suncoast WaterWorks show is June 1-2 at Southwest Pool in Largo.

SWIMMING: The Bardmoor Aquatic Team recently won its first Carlouel Invitational.

Bardmoor's Josh Gordon was the high-point performer in the 11-12 age division, and Trevor Caldwell and Nick Vilaret tied in the 13-14 class of the 33rd invitational. St. Petersburg Country Club's Tracy Rorer was the top swimmer in the 10-and-older division.

SPCC finished sixth overall, and Carlouel was eighth.

The Bardmoor squad will have its Spring Invitational on June 2.

ICE HOCKEY: Tryouts for the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning are this weekend at the SunBlades Ice Arena.

TBJL president Skip Krazja may be contacted at 397-4714 for information, or call director of coaches Jacob Brozyna, 546-9060.

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