Club sends 12 to Junior Olympics
By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times,
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Alpha Omega, west Pasco County's youth track club, won 13 medals at the AAU State Championship Track and Field meet this weekend and will send 12 competitors to the 2001 AAU Junior Olympic Games in July in Hampton Roads, Va.
"This is great," said club organizer and coach, Sue Vien, who's also the girls track coach at Ridgewood. "This is where you see the future Olympians. Everyone who becomes a national champion or sets a national record gets to be on the junior national team and travel around the world, competing as the Olympians do."
This year's state meet was held at Sebastian River High in Indian River County. The top four in each event qualified for the 2001 AAU Junior Olympics, which will be held July 30 to Aug. 4 at Dick Price Stadium on the campus of Norfolk State University.
Vien said the athletes competed under difficult circumstances, enduring heavy rains throughout the sessions Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"I was really pleased," she said. "The kids had to perform in the rain, and I know in some of their events they could have done better if the weather was on their side, but they pulled through like troopers."
Among the honors Alpha Omega brought back were two gold state championship medals:
Samantha Urgo, 11, won a state high jump championship in the sub-midget division with a personal-best leap of 4 feet, 3 inches.
Kelly Wiegand, 9, won a state long jump championship with a personal-best leap of 11-5.
Winning silver medals were:
Lizzy Clum, 7, who took second in the shot put in the primary division with a personal-best throw of 11 feet.
Stephanie Fleres, 11, medaled in the high jump in the midget class and cleared 4-2 to tie a personal best.
Leon Holmes, 12, took second in the midget division in the discus with a throw of 98-10.
Earning bronze were: Kade Aley, 7, medaled in the shot put in the primary division with a personal-best throw of 14-8.
Kelsey Aley, 11, placed in the high jump in the midget division with a jump of 3-8.
Danielle Coyle, 14, who competes for River Ridge in the spring, placed in the intermediate division in the 1,500 meters.
Robyn Gray, 11, tied a personal-best leap of 3-10 to medal in the high jump in the midget division.
Taking fourth place were: Stephanie Blue, 10, placed in the sub-midget division in the discus with a throw of 28-7.
Holmes medaled in the shot put in the midget class with a throw of 35-7.
Nancy Edwards, 18, a Ridgewood graduate who was the Times co-Track Athlete of the Year, placed in the triple jump in the young woman's division with a jump of 35-101/2.
Sarah Penokie, 14, who will be a sophomore at Ridgewood next season, ran the 3,000 in 12:19 to place in the intermediate division.
Alpha Omega is seeking donations to help pay for the team's trip to Virginia. For information, contact Vien at (727) 849-3919.
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111