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The year 2001 was filled with honors and championships earned by youth athletes.
Here are some of the highlights:
BASEBALL: Molly McKesson, 15, made her second appearance on the U.S. team in the American Women's Baseball League and the Women's World Series. She was a pitcher for the series champion. BASKETBALL: The Clearwater Green Wave's under-16 and under-10 girls teams and the Pinellas Players under-13 boys advanced to AAU National Championships. The under-16 squad won its sixth consecutive state title to qualify for the national tournament. The under-10 team was second at state, and the boys squad was third.
BOYS GYMNASTICS: Standout performances in the Region 8 Championships qualified Jason Pierce, Colin Christ and Wes Aderhold (Class 2) and Jeremiah Hodges (Class 3) for nationals. The Apollo School of Gymnastics captured the boys Class 7 team title in the Gasparilla Invitational on the performances of Tomily Bourgoing, Bradley Hutson, Evan Rubinson, Andy Shaffer and Jessee Scott.
DIVING: Austin Hampton won a silver medal in 1-meter competition, finished fourth on the 3-meter and sixth on the platform in the All-Star International Invitational.
Hampton, Kaila Johnston, Cody Dodds, Alex Tillbrook and Ryan Troup qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals.
Regional qualifiers were Katie and Amanda Smolen, Lily Palmer, Michelle Stevens, Amy Boyd, Janeen Lane, Kelsey Dougherty-Howard, Lauren Permuy, Tillbrook, Mark Moss, Troup, Josh Matson, Johnston and Ryan Schomburg.
Advancing to the Zone Meet were Johnston, Matson, Amanda Smolen, Tillbrook, Hampton and Moss.
Tillbrook and Hampton qualified for the U.S. Diving National Championships. Tillbrook was seventh on the 3-meter and 14th on the platform. Hampton was eighth on the 1-meter and 13th on the 3-meter.
FOOTBALL: Capturing Pinellas Youth Football Conference championships were Gibbs (Flyweight), the St. Pete Lil Devils (Midget and Mighty Mite) and Largo (Pee Wee).
Varsity cheerleading champions were St. Pete (Flyweight and Mighty Mite), Greenwood (Pee Wee) and Lakewood (Midget).
Suncoast Youth Football Conference champions were Clearwater (Flyweight and Midget), Countryside (Mighty Mite) and Northeast (Pee Wee).
Varsity cheerleading champions were Countryside (Flyweight, Mighty Mite and Midget) and Azalea (Pee Wee).
GIRLS GYMNASTICS: Lesley Valenty of LaFleur's of Largo placed ninth on vault in the Level 10 National Championships, joining the Tampa Bay Turners' Summer Hubbard, Lauren Bernloehr, Margaret Dann, Lauren Companioni, Jessica Beckman and Terin Martinjak as medalists.
Qualifying for the Level 9 nationals were LaFleur's Whitney Eberhardt, Elizabeth Herrmann and Erin Godin and the Turners' Chelsea Lau and Kaylene Sattanno.
LaFleur's, sparked by 12 event winners and three all-around champions, captured its third consecutive Level 5 title. All-around winners were Danielle Kozakos, Serena Bumbarger and Crystal Sauls. Capturing event crowns were Kelly Blake, Ashley Card, Stacy Gollinger, Brynn Fullmer, Diedre Nieves, Sauls, Bumbarger and Kozakos.
In the Level 4 State Championships, LaFleur's was fourth. It was led by all-around champs Jessica Bunn and Mary Michael Toups. In the AAU State Championships, the Apollo School of Gymnastics's Chelsea Hawkey won Level 6 and Kendra Miller took Level 5. Lauryn Yost was the Level 4 runner-up. LIFEGUARDS: Among the top four finishers in the U.S. Lifeguard Association Southeast Regionals was the Pinellas County Beach Patrol.
Competing among 400-plus athletes, top finishers included Tracy Rorer and Katie Brown (surf rescue); Cameron Chambers (mile run); Brown, Rorer, Chambers, Kyle Cleary and Melanie Stickney (swim relay); Branden Nelson, Brown, Rorer, Chambers, Cleary and Stckney (run relay); and Kevin Nelson and Jonathan Cleary (paddleboard relay).
ROLLER HOCKEY: The Tampa Bay Tritons' squirt (12-and-under) team was second in the TORHS National Tournament Division I competition. The Tritons won the AAU Regional Tournament.
SKIING: Christina Dicus achieved a No. 1 ranking in the Junior I/II Southern Division of the U.S. Ski Association.
SOCCER: The Clearater Chargers' under-10 girls and under-10 boys won Region C titles, as did the Countryside Lightning's under-11 boys, Largo Wolves' under-17 boys and St. Pete Raiders' under-12 and under-13 girls.
Region C champions advanced to the Chevy President's Cup, in which Largo was third. Countryside and the Raiders teams were second.
In the Countryside Lightning Easter International Tournament, Countryside won the under-11 and under-16 girls divisions, along with Strictly Soccer's under-11 and under-13 boys teams.
Reaching the Florida Youth Soccer Association final four were the Countryside under-13, Largo under-16 and Clearwater under-18 girls squads, along with the Dunedin Stirling under-14, Largo under-16 and Clearwater under-18 and under-19 boys teams.
Countryside's under-13 girls were named State Cup champions. The Clearwater under-18 girls were the runner-up.
Clearwater captured five titles in the Coca Cola Clearwater Classic. The winners were the under-11 and under-19 girls teams and the under-14, under-16 and under-19 boys squads. Also winning were the Countryside under-10 girls and Dunedin under-15 boys.
SWIMMING: Top-10 swimmers in the JO Championships were Jose Crescimbeni, Megan Romano, Jill Sears, James Taddeo and Rorer (10-and-under); Chelsea Nauta, Stase Michota, Clay Bullock and Russell Snyder (11-12); and Teresa Tessier (13-14).
Katie Brown, Kelsey Krauss, Romano, Rorer, Michota, Kevin Nardozzi and Adam Moody were among the selected competitors in the All-Star Meet.
The Bardmoor Aquatic Team won its first Carlouel Invitational.
Earning firsts in the Florida JO Championships were Romano, Rorer, Stickney, Katie Brown, Chambers, Jaime Milo and Snyder.
Countryside Country Club won the Private Club League Relays title. Bardmoor finished second.
Nick Vilaret, Trevor Caldwell, Jon Proctor and Jeff Crawford broke two 26-year-old relay times.
Countryside won the PCL crown, including the girls, boys and overall categories.
Westlake Village Swim Club pulled out a three-peat in capturing the 21st Pinellas Aquatic League title among seven teams.
Westlake's high-pointers were Kelsey Buckley (8-and-under) and Katie Haley (13-14). Andy Helvenston and Josh Curnutte tied for first in the 15-18 division.
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: Sunshine State Games winners were Jennifer Aguero and Leja Apple (solo) and Jamie Freshour and Meredith Cooke and Gabrielle Lewis and Katrina Yamokoski (duet). Nichole Lee won figures, and Taylor Koon, Jenna Lee and Logan Worley took the trio.
Nondi Garrett and Crystal and Jennifer Amsinger placed sixth in the 18-19 trio competition of the U.S. Age Group Championships.